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I have considered myself a writer for many years, even though it wasn’t until I was out of college that I began to realize that it was okay to be serious about it and strive to have writing as my primary career. Please note that said aforementioned career shift has yet to occur. It’s the unfortunate truth that I have to have a day job, and that I really need a second one to make ends meet. Needless to say, it may be a while before I can get one of these.

Seriously, though, who wouldn’t save up for this?

As my attempts at writing have grown more serious, especially over the last year or so that I’ve been maintaining this blog, I’ve noticed that there’s something highly repetitive about the life of a writer. It’s a vicious cycle, really.

Write, format, edit, submit, get rejected, repeat.

You know the worst part about this?

I’m totally okay with it.

 

So, being the desperate writer that I am, I’m frequently scouring the web for potential work that could help me to better myself and boost my career. That is unfortunately easier said than done, as it has become very difficult to sort out the few truly legitimate opportunities that lurk amidst the scammer lures. When a chance comes along that seems too good to be true, that’s usually the case, and so I have grown very tentative about anything that I find. Case in point: Amnet Systems.

Amnet contacted me when I responded to a craigslist post that claimed to be seeking freelance editors. They sent me an email asking that I complete two editing tests which would prove my proficiency as an editor. As I worked my way through the two pieces they had emailed me for editing, I couldn’t shake a feeling that something wasn’t quite right, so I began to do a little research into the company. Most of what I found was quite promising as far as legitimacy of the company itself, though the fact was undeniable that Amnet focuses on enabling the outsourcing and/or offshoring of many jobs, and promotes this practice to its clients. I find it a little bit difficult to support a company that outsources jobs when it’s become so difficult to find a good job in today’s economy. There was also this little gem of a review of their editing test process that made me even more concerned. I make no claims as to the value of such a review, but it certainly piqued my interest. To that end, I decided there was nothing else for it but to contact Amnet Systems directly, via an address they had provided.

The exchange is as follows:

“To Whom it May Concern,

I recently was contacted regarding an editing test with Amnet Systems. Now, I am eager for a job as an editor, I truly am. However, when I did a little bit of research on the company, I was surprised to discover that you seem to specialize in outsourcing to India. This, naturally, piqued my curiosity. Why, I thought, would a company that specializes in outsourcing have need of freelance editors, particularly editors from all over the US when they’re actively sending potential American jobs overseas? This puzzled me to no end, and raised further concerns over the legitimacy of this position. Then, I found this. http://www.ripoffreport.com/book-publishers/amnet-systems/amnet-systems-amnet-publishing-20078.htm

Now, I think that it is more than fair for me to question the nature of the freelance editor position you claim to have available. If you would like to respond, please feel free to email me. Thank you, and have a wonderful day.

Sincerely,

Philip Krogmeier”

“Mr. Krogmeier,

Our application review team flagged your email for my attention and I would like to personally respond to your note. First, thank you for flagging the website in question. I intend today to formally file a response to the false claims this individual made regarding our company.

Amnet Systems is an international company with headquarters based out of Chennai, India. We provide services to most of the major publishers you’ve heard of, and it is true that a great deal of typesetting, eBook conversion, and data related services work is performed by the team in India. The India division also provides editorial services but primarily not for markets outside the US.

The US division of Amnet is a standalone company based in mid-state Illinois. Our US team provides editorial services for a number of US clients, using US-based staff of several top-notch editors, and they in turn work with a pool of about 150 excellent US-based freelance editors. Our clients include a range of academic and trade publishers, as well as servicing several of the self-publishing companies here in the US.

It is true that our Chennai team helps our smaller US team in processing freelance applications. Many hundreds of applications are received monthly, far more than our staff in Illinois could process in an efficient manner. So we have a small team in Chennai which helps our US team in doing some pre-grading tasks for the tests, verifying accuracy of responses in the test against a number of metrics. Applicants who do not pass the pre-screening round are politely notified in a timely manner by Amnet staff that their application will not be moving forward. For those applicants who do pass the pre-screening round, their same completed tests are then forwarded on to our US office where that smaller subset gets an full intensive grading review by US staff editors.

You may be interested to learn that roughly 95% of editor applicants do not pass these editorial testing reviews. This may seem surprising but in fact it aligns with what we know from our experience in the publishing industry; there are simply a great number of people who think they have what it takes to be a copy editor but in reality do not possess the skill set.

I would encourage you to revisit the person’s post you referenced in your email and count the number of spelling errors alone in his brief post. I’ll leave it to you to determine if this individual would be up to caliber of a professional copy editor. We believe the poster must be a disgruntled failed applicant; you can draw your own conclusions. His claims regarding Amnet are false. We do not use live work from our clients ever for applicant testing: that would be unethical to say the least. The same tests (one fiction, one nonfiction) are administered to all applicants. We do not pay applicants to take the test, and this is also a standard practice in the publishing industry. Rest assured we are making no profit off our freelancer testing process…it is a cost to our company we accrue in order to arrive at a team of skilled copy editors appropriate to our clients’ needs.

You are most welcome to apply for freelance editorial position and take our testing; the address for this purpose isusapplications@amnet-systems.com. Most applicants find the tests take about 4-6 hours to complete, and if your work is of a level that is deemed acceptable for our editorial clients, we would connect with you to explore work opportunities.

Thanks for your interest, and for flagging this website’s incorrect claims about Amnet which I intend to respond to directly today. We wish you the best and look forward to hearing from you if you have interest in applying for editorial work.

Warm regards,

Ted Young

U.S. General Manager

Amnet Systems

tyoung@amnet-systems.com

In short, Mr. Young defended the practices of his company and denied all claims of wrongdoing. Standard deny everything response? Maybe. Truth? Also maybe. Point being, I think I may have touched a nerve.

Has anyone else had dealings with similar issues? Does vehement denial really mean truth? The world may never know.

A few days ago, Kristen Lamb posted an article on her blog, discussing the problem with editing in mid-writing. I just found it via twitter today, but I think it’s a phenomenal piece on the importance of writing for the sake of writing, and not taking the time to edit until you’re done. This goes beyond NaNoWriMo, and is a great reminder to all of us that there is, whether we like it or not, a definite order to things. Write now, edit later. If you’ll excuse me, I have some writing to do. It is still November, after all.