Online Research Resources
How Not to Find an Editor Online
Recently, on another site, one of the
members was talking about how happy she was, because her editor (found via an
online search) had finished, and that his “book reviewer” had wonderful things
to say about the story. Since editors don’t have book reviewers, it sounded a
bit iffy. I looked at the poster's writing, and found about what I expected:
sincerely written entry level prose that needed rewriting more then editing.
The supposed editor was obviously a scammer.
I wrote to warn her, but being emotionally invested in her story, and on a high
as a result of the false complements, she didn’t want to hear it, sent me a
nasty letter, then blocked me from responding. But she did give me a link to
the scammer, so I investigated. I’ve notified P&E about him. But it might
be instructional to see how such people operate, so as to help protect yourself.
Take a look at the website before going on. See if you would have picked up the
obvious lies. Do a bit of investigation to see if you find what I did, as you
would were you thinking of hiring him. Here’s the scammer’s webpage :
Taken in the order I found them, here are the lies:
1. The bio says, “Denard co-founded and was ditor in chief at a publishing
company (distributed by Random House).” That missing “e” in editor is his
mistake. Forgetting that he can’t edit his own
website competently, had he actually held that position he would, of course,
have named the publishing company. There’s no reason to hide the name, and
identifying it would give him legitimacy. But if he names the company, you
could check his credentials.
2. He claims to be competent at editing fiction, nonfiction, and screenwriting.
That last is a big giveaway because screenwriting, and the editing of scripts,
is an entirely different profession, requiring a fully independent set of
craft, one you must gain expertise in by both study and working in the field.
No one learns the norms of fiction's many genres without having worked
in the field. Screenwriting, with it's different medium and aims, is the same.
3. He claims, “Two of Denard's published books sold to film studios for over $1
million.” An obvious lie. Search his name. No books. And no, he didn’t use a
pen name because if he’s trading on his fame he would edit under that name. And
of course he would announce their titles on his web page—if for no other reason
than to promote them. He can’t. Because then, his marks could check his
4. He claims to have helped write, edit, and publish, The Fiscal Cliff, a
nonfiction book. But his name is missing as both editor and writer. So that’s a
lie, too. That particular book was self-published. How do I know? No publisher
is listed on the declaration page, and the supposed publisher listed on the
Amazon page does-not-exist. Google is your friend. And, the current sales
ranking for that book is 2,015,428 on Amazon. That means there are more than
two million books selling better than
that one. Anyone who announces a failure of that magnitude with pride is either
a fool or a scammer, one who figures you won’t check.
5. Given all of the above, I wondered if the picture on the site was actually Mr.
Denard. It seemed unlikely. Working editors, even chief editors, don’t take
glamor pictures. So I jumped over to the TinType site, which allows you to
search for pictures matching what you paste in their window. I gave them the
picture from his website, and damn if there wasn’t a hit. Turns out that the
man in the picture is really Webster Stone, a director of some note.
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0832221/ Seems to me that when someone presents a
false face, they’re wearing a mask. And when you see someone who should be bare
faced wearing a mask and demanding money, you can be pretty certain you’ve just
met a thief.
6. He supplies no data on background, training, or place of education. Nor does
he belong to any of the various associations of editors. What professional
And finally, a question, a reasonability check:
Here, if we can believe it, is a man who founded a publishing company so good
it commanded the backing of a major publisher. This illustrious person wrote
two novels so good they were both purchased by a studio, earning him more then
a million dollars. One might think such a skilled writer would produce a third.
But no. Altruist that he is, he founded an editing company, and personally
works with first time writers for a fraction of what he could get for editing
the work of professionals.
Is this man a saint, or what? I love reasonability checks.
So, remember these “tells” the next time you’re thinking of hiring an editor.
--edited by Jay Greenstein on 8/29/2013, 6:54 PM--