29 April 2007

Barking up the wrong tree

I've just received a frantic email that reminded me of that phrase "having a dog and barking yourself".

I was recently asked to supply a regular feature for a new publication. Regular work is always good - it keeps me on my toes with the discipline of the deadline and it keeps my bank manager happy. However - in capital letters - my alarm bells keep tinkling ever so faintly in the background.

First there was the issue of fees (scroll down to read the second point 4). Then the publisher let slip on the phone that the editor had never, ahem, edited before. Well, that was hardly news - I'd already worked that out for myself from the sort of questions the editor was asking me in their emails.

That's just been confirmed. The latest email - without going into details - asked me a very basic spelling question, to which the answer should have been known. And if not, would have been found within about 2 seconds of consulting any decent dictionary.

To a certain extent, I don't really care as long as my invoices get paid on time. On the other hand, I refuse to act as an unpaid adviser to someone who ought to be at least competent in their role as editor. After all, if you are a dog you really should know how to bark. And if you're a publication editor, it stands to reason you should know how to edit your publication. If I get one more query of this nature, I shall start billing for time spent on consultancy...

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