I am not a native English speaker and hired an editor to correct the style of a book that is being published. However, this editor didn't work in the final version of the manuscript I sent but rather on an old draft I had sent for a quotation. Additionally, the returned manuscript had many added typos (at least 20 in one chapter).

Since the editing was done it an old version, it is now completely useless to me. How should I handle this? Should I pay for work that wasn't even what I requested?

Is it normal for an editor leave typos and expect for a proofreader to fix them?

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    Yikes! I'd either resend your correct manuscript and insist the person do it over again for no additional cost, or if the work is that bad, see what your contract says about cancelling. Mar 20, 2015 at 2:07
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    Did you contract this editor for proofreading? Was the presence of another editor discussed? Mar 20, 2015 at 4:08
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    As @LaurenIpsum says, what does your contract say?
    – CLockeWork
    Mar 20, 2015 at 9:04
  • The contract is only a paragraph long. It only states that the editor agrees to do "light editing", the price and a deadline. It also says that I agree to "pay upon delivery". Mar 20, 2015 at 17:50
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    Well, the light editing was done on the wrong ms, so at the very least you could send it back for that. If you choose to send it back, point out the typos and ask what's going on. Why did the editor make those changes to make the words the wrong spelling? Is there some American/British/Australian etc. dialect thing going on? Mar 20, 2015 at 18:05

1 Answer 1


I would talk to them about it. Just be friendly. Let them know that the wrong file was edited. See what they have to say. Were both files sent in the same email / however you sent it? If it wasn't clear which was to be edited, that may be on you. If you were very clear about which was to be edited, they might offer to look at it again. Could just be a simple mistake. Give them the chance to offer a second look.

'Light editing' usually is for content editing. It looks at a broader picture. e.g. Does the narrative flow? Are there plot inconsistencies? Does each chapter have a purpose? Did you start off with a character and then forget about them halfway through?

Proofreading is a separate style of editing and is often charged separately by editors. They will focus on the grammar, spelling, spacing, etc. When you get a contract for this service, they usually won't make notes / corrections to your content.

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