This was originally a post that was published on my old blog. I was preparing my website articles and posts for Google’s SEO change and realized I hadn’t posted this over here yet. Now, I rarely give bad reviews on public pages, but sometimes there are things people need to be warned about. And I feel this one is important! I was revising my novel and wanted more information on revision, follow my journey. Read all the way to the bottom for some GREAT resources on editing.
Professionalism Is IMPORTANT!!
As you all know, I’ve been through a ton of revisions with my manuscript.
At first, I had no idea how to go about the whole process. I mucked right into the muddy mess with my rain boots. I like the mental picture of a girl with her rain boots, because I can relate. I remember a time in my life (I was probably 8-years-old) when I was stuck in the middle of the muddy garden in my rain boots. The garden had turned to an ocean of mud from all the rain we’d gotten. I was stuck.
I tried pulling my feet out of the mud, but the suction was too strong, so I started hyperventilating. My foot came flying out of my rain boot. I was a crying little island in the middle of a mud sea.
I pulled my other foot out and ran to the safety of dry land, but my boots stayed behind. They were out there for a few days.
I picture revising a novel a lot like that whole scene. (Writing and revising is a lot like gardening.)
You need to get yourself dirty. Roll up your sleeves and get in there.
When I was just starting my revision process I wasn’t sure how to go about it so I looked for books and/or courses on revision. I also interviewed authors on it. (Read below for the author interviews on editing)
A few people told me that I should look into Holly Lisle’s course on revision: How To Revise Your Novel, by Holly Lisle. They told me it was quite expensive as well. I looked it up and found that it was $49.95 per month (5 payments) =$249.75.
I looked into it and read reviews on it. I couldn’t find any bad reviews on the surface. Later when I looked, I did find some. I know sometimes you have to pay a bit to get some education on a topic. So, I decided to try it.
I got the first lesson that night and I was super excited!
I sat down with the print out and ecstatically started reading and taking notes.
I came to run-on-sentences upon run-on-sentences. Repetitiveness. Sloppy misspellings. (The misspellings could have been found if she had read over a couple times. It was almost like the last edit was done by spell check.) These are big mistakes for an author and not only that, but for an author expecting to get paid a lot of money. You can imagine it really bugged me.
After I started counting all the typos and spots where it was lacking edits I decided I couldn’t read any farther.
I found myself wondering, How can I trust this writer? She isn’t really living what she is preaching. If I had a course out there (and I was being paid a lot for it, I’d want it to be the best it could be.)
I decided I couldn’t pay for something so unprofessionally put together.
I can easily ignore a spelling mistake here and there, but when there are multiple mistakes. ALSO, when you are paying A LOT of money for something so poorly done… it just isn’t worth it. Especially since the course is supposed to teach you to revise your novel into something publishable. I couldn’t trust the voice. Because the content shouldn’t have been published with so many horrid mistakes.
I’d be embarrassed if I ever published and sold something with so many mistakes. I decided that I’d write her and tell her. I would have wanted someone to write me if I were selling something like that.
Person writing me about typo: “Oh, I spotted this…” because any kind of mistake makes you look unprofessional.
I would have been like: “Oh, my goodness… thank you!!! I didn’t even see that! I will fix it! Thanks again!!!”
But it never happened. I didn’t get a response from her.
I didn’t want to wait till week two, to cancel so I wrote her and told her I would like to cancel the course now.
She wrote me that night and refunded the money.
But that isn’t it… nothing against her at all, but what was in her response was the topping to the the unprofessional ice cream sundae. It was her VERY unprofessional reply that bothered me the MOST.
I am sorry, but a person can boast all they like about their years of experience and how many books they have written, but if it doesn’t show in your writing… then that says a lot about you as a writer.
And if you can’t respond politely and calmly that says a lot about you as a professional person. It also says something if that writing is full of mistakes and they expect to get paid for it. AND then they… write you and say “Well then… maybe, when you have hundreds of books published you can teach an online course.” I don’t appreciate snide snarky comments like that at all.
Of course, some people like her. And that is fine. You can like her. I just didn’t appreciate her lack of professionalism and wanted to warn people against her products (If new people are looking for information on revising a novel. I’ve included great editing resources below by people I really trust.)
People need to be careful with this.
1. Make sure your content is the best it can be. Have others look it over countless times. That is why I have Beta Readers. (Check out this free beta reader questionnaire and this post on finding beta readers.)
Make sure your writing is squeaky clean… without errors. (like so squeaky that a rubber ducky would be jealous.)
2. Respond kindly. Always respond to people, but with politeness, kindness, and professionalism. Treat people online and offline professionally. What you say can make or break your platform.
If you do both of these things… your professionalism will stay intact no matter what. Even if you had misspellings and such in your work. At least you took, what your reader said as gold and decided to do something with it.
I decided to write about this experience for a few reasons…
As I stated above, I rarely write bad reviews. Originally, I wasn’t going to write a review on this, but it bugged me for days.
I want you all to know, in my opinion, Holly Lisle’s revision course isn’t worth the price: for being so poorly edited and also for the lack of professionalism and the bad attitude behind it.
Why pay for anything less than professional.
This is a timely article written by the amazing Michael Hyatt, on being professional and on how your brand can be hurt because of unprofessionalism.
Please know this review was done in the best way possible! I want the best for all writers and don’t want anyone to be scammed.
Author Interviews on Revising:
- Steven James on Revising
- Jessica Bell on Revising
- Me on Revising (My editing tips from after finishing my 6th edit)
- Susan Dennard on Revising (She also has a whole section on her blog about revision. WAY better than Holly Lisle’s. And it’s FREE.)
- Katie Cross on Revising
- Holly Brown on Revising
Great Revising Resources:
- Revision & Self Editing, by James Scott Bell
- Self Editing For Fiction Writers, by Renni Brown and Dave King
- The Emotion Thesaurus, by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi