Fiverr Forum

Need some advice from fellow editors, asap, please!


Sellers who are editors, have you ever had a gig where you just wanted to give up and cancel, or give it back to them to redo and then send it back for you to go over again?? I am totally in that situation right now. I have a full manuscript, 207 pages, and I have been working on it for over a week and am only on page 63 :confused: I am SO discouraged and am very much contemplating contacting the buyer and asking them to look at my edits so far, and go back through and fix things based on what’s already been done.

So my question is, has anyone ever done this? If so, what was the reaction of the author? Were they willing to do that, or is it just up to me totally to try and figure out exactly what they are trying to say and put it in my own words…because that’s pretty much what I’m doing. It is so hard to understand, and there is SO much unnecessary details, that I find myself deleting paragraphs. Now, the author has told me I can take all the time I need, but to be honest, I dread working on this because it’s just a big mess.

The only thing that is keeping me from contacting them, for fear of cancellation, is that I’d get a good pay from it. But then again, is it worth the time I’m having to put into it?

Anyway, any advice from either point of view would be greatly appreciated.



Thanks everybody! I actually ended up just telling her that our views on how it was to be edited were totally different, and we ended up mutually cancelling the order. Which meant I didn’t get paid at all for the month’s worth of work I put in…but that’s okay. It was worth it to me to get out of it. It was just taking up way too much of my time, and I hated to tell her but it really wasn’t anything I could see people purchasing. It was too confusing and was all over the place, and when I pointed that out, she didn’t want to hear it. It was a tough job.

@kitd56, I like what you said about requesting the full manuscript before accepting! My husband mentioned that as well…lesson learned.

@sincere18, she ordered copy editing so I was doing exactly what that entailed. But there was just so much to it, that it literally took me 10-15 minutes per page! I remember I would just stop and cry because I was mentally exhausted from it all. I have never had a project like that and pray I never will again.


Hi Ella,

I’ve had a couple of instances like this - nothing as long as 207 pages - but a 100+ document that felt like I was trudging through mud! I eventually got through it and sent it back to the author and they were happy with it, but I also added a lot of additional comments in a separate document to suggest how they could make the content better.

You could go through it lightly - so not editing heavily, but make comments on paragraphs you believe are redundant etc. You might also find it beneficial to send what you have done so far to the buyer and just explain that you are still working on their project/document but would like their opinion on what you have edited so far.

This might stop them from getting offended / cancelling and might help you to wade through the mud a little better!

Hope this helps - good luck!


What service did they actually buy, copy editing? or proofreading? I read your gig description.

I wonder if you are trying to do too much, putting in too much time for what they are really looking for. Though I don’t sell here on Fiverr, I do copywriting work and have worked with various clients on the past on all kind of projects and subject matters. While I always strive to do my best in terms of writing for them, sometimes the project itself is just an actual dud. They may think they have a greatest product that is going to fly off the shelf, but sometimes it’s just murky waters and my job was to simply make those waters flow smoothly enough in their own mind, which meant better than they can do.

If you want the pay, then just muddle through it. I agree, maybe send them chapter one, but I am not so sure if you should ask for an opinion, but rather just say, here is a sample of the completed worked, and I should have the rest to you by date…how much back and forth would you be wanting to do on this with them? To ask their opinions and then get comments to then revise again and again, I am not sure how you structure you gigs with regards to after you turn over completed work if buyers can request revisions and if so how many.

I also think in general doing editing on 1 chapter of a book is always going to be very different than doing a complete manuscript in mindset. With one chapter you are not thinking about if the whole book makes sense kind of a thing. I wonder if you might for the future put a note at the bottom of the gig, that if someone is looking for an entire book to be edited to contact you first. Maybe there are some questions that can help you assess whether it’s a job you want to take or not.

ellaisreading said: The only thing that is keeping me from contacting them, for fear of cancellation, is that I'd get a good pay from it. But then again, is it worth the time I'm having to put into it?
Cancel the order - politely & professionally. Have you looked at your hourly rate to this point? If you are essentially rewriting the entire manuscript (assuming it is actually the buyer's original work) there is a huge chance that by the time you are done, they won't be happy with it - even more of a chance if it's a pricey order. The end result will be VERY different. There's also the chance that if the original is written so poorly, there may be larger communication problems lurking.

A mutual cancellation will not hurt you. It will be in your best interest to cancel the current order, explain that you are concerned about how it's going, ask the buyer to purchase a smaller gig (or quantities that will cover the time you've put in) as a sample, and then deliver what you have already completed.

There is very little chance this will work out well as it stands. Keeping the work in smaller chunks may avoid some of the trouble. Good luck!


I can't answer whether it's worth your time because I think only you can answer that. Evaluate your take on it - if you feel that you can't carry on, then perhaps you could see if the client would be amenable to delivering what you've done so far and closing the transaction (not the best way to deal with it but if all else fails...)

This might help you in the future - why don't you ask for an excerpt of what they need to be edited? The way I have structured my gig description makes the potential buyers message me before placing their order. For my sanity, I only accept reasonable writing.

Whatever you choose to do, I wish you good luck!


I had this happen a couple of times with smaller orders. Now I request the entire document upfront before any money changes hands to be sure I can read the document well enough to edit it, to allow me to do a small sample that allows the client to see my style and be sure all software shakes hands, and to allow me to give an exact fee and turn around time. Every now and then the prospective client balks at this request (and usually comes back a few weeks later) - but I don’t have to cancel anymore. I do full length books (as many as 160K words) with very few problems. If the book is too mangled, I know it before we get started and can make an informed recommendation.


Reply to @ellaisreading: well, in the future, if anyone wants to give you a full manuscript for copy editing, I would suggest that you ask to see 2 pages first, and then give them a custom quote based on your time.

Keep in mind that some people may not want to turn over a whole manuscript to someone without some kind of order/formal connection.

But the issue is also setting aside your marketing/editing perspective of whether anyone would purchase someones work. Unless they come to you for actual editing. If they just come to you for copy editing, and only copy editing, you just have to separate that out and just do copy edits and not think about the “whole” of the book. Sometimes, or rather, many times, self-published authors don’t want to “hear it” they think their work is fine and coherent and they need to just find out for themselves down the line if anyone buys it.

If you are copy editing just one chapter of course as opposed to a full manuscript, it’s easier to not think about what you don’t know :slight_smile: