Adopt a give-it-a-try attitude

Just a few days ago, I had the idea that a service I could offer is “positive manuscript evaluations” – that is, ms evaluations that focus on affirming and supporting an author instead of critiquing their work.

For someone who has spent her entire editing career telling people where they’re going wrong, this was a very different step to take.

What would happen if I did it? Would people think I was selling out my principles as a dev editor? Would anyone be interested in the service?

I had to think about the first question a little. Was I selling out my principles? No, I decided. I’m not here just to edit people’s work. I’m here to support and cheerlead authors. I’m here to help them find their voice and build their confidence.

Years ago I gave a talk about my one friend whose job in my life is to tell me I’m doing great.  That’s it. She doesn’t tell me I stuttered or used my hands too much. She just says I’m doing great. And for years, whenever my confidence falters, this friend has told me that I’m doing great. And I can’t tell you how much this has meant over the years.

So, no, I decided, I’m not selling anything out by saying I want to be the person who tells a writer they’re doing great. I’m not going to lie or misrepresent the truth. I’m going to find out what they’re doing well and that’s what I’m going to talk about.

The question of “Would anyone be interested in the service?” is a different kind of question. It is not something I can answer just by thinking about it. And even if I were to ask people what they thought, that still wouldn’t tell me if anyone would pay for this service. (As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, I am fully coin-operated).

What would tell me? Setting up a test and seeing if anyone does pay for it. So I put together a description of what this service consists of and talked about it on social media.

I can’t tell you the number of times new freelance editors come to me and say, “Do you think I could market on Tiktok, do you think a publisher would hire me to freelance edit for them, do you think it would be profitable for me to add another service?”

And the answer is, I don’t know. Maybe you’ll take Tiktok by storm. Maybe a publisher will hire you to freelance edit for them. Maybe it would be profitable for you to add another service. But really the only way to answer these questions is to test them out. See what happens when you try.

Certainly I can sometimes say things like “if you hate Tiktok and hate seeing yourself on camera, then perhaps that is not the way to go” but other than obvious issues like this, you can’t know until you try.

So give it a try. Test that new product, that new service, that new price. See what happens. Learn from the experience and try something new.

Join the Club!

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