If you visit my homepage or have been following this blog for a bit, you may recall that I am working toward a copyediting certificate. The goal is to create a freelance business once I get it (and some additional research) under my belt. However, for the past six months or so, I have been struggling with an idea.
How do I marry a reviewer with an editor?
The idea that an author, a potential client, could come to my blog and be put off by my past reviews is a bit scary. I don’t think I am negative for the sake of being negative or mean. I’d like to think my reviews are fair and critical, but not everyone may see it that way. They may worry that I’ll trash their book, even though reading for pleasure and reading to edit are two separate actions.
In order to lessen my anxiety and possibly attract more clients, I have a few options.
- Continue as I have been, hoping clients understand.
- Change my habits now, leave the old stuff.
- Change my habits now, but remove/edit the old stuff.
- Only use a new site for copyediting and professional posts.
The funny part about the last one is that originally, this blog was meant to be just my copyediting stuff. But then I enjoyed writing about books so much (and I loved my new URL more), that I imported all my old stuff and kept it all in one place. Essentially with number 4, I’d be doing that again.
So, what would changing my habits mean, exactly? It might mean no negative reviews, at all, only gushing about books I loved. It might mean no star ratings. It would mean focusing on positive things and books that make me happy.
However, in some ways, that feels disingenuous. And I think that is where I struggle to let go of writing critically about a book. I was a bibliophile first. It is why I studied English Literature. It is why I sought a career in books. I love to deep dive and explore ways a book could improve. Then again, shouldn’t I be able to keep negative critiques to myself? Why do I feel the need to keep writing as I have been? Well, for one, it’s fun!
I’ve gotten mixed thoughts from the small editing community I’m a part of. Some think it’s best to separate. Some say leave old stuff, but move on. My own copy editing instructor pushed me to continue doing both if that’s what I love, saying many authors would appreciate that critical eye.
So here’s where I’d love to open this up for discussion. I don’t get many comments on here, but I would love to hear your thoughts. If you were a writer looking for a copyeditor, how would you feel to stumble across their blog where they have negative reviews for books? Would you be worried about working with them?