I screwed up.
A one-time, I-need-this-done-today client became a repeat client, and then I screwed up. He sent me a brochure which, apparently, he'd already been using and said, "Edit this."
First, I loathe editing PDF documents. I can do it. I just dislike doing it. I much prefer editing in MS Word or Google Docs. So, I asked if he had the content in some format other than PDF. He said he had an earlier version of the document in MS Word and sent me the file--oh, and would I make sure the edited file contained the necessary information included in the currently used PDF?
Sure. I can do that.
So, I edited the Word document. I compared its content to the PDF, which isn't as easy a task as one might think. Doing that is persnickety, tedious, and time-consuming. I delivered the edited document and said, "Review the edits to accept or reject them."
He wanted the document returned with all edits already executed. I don't do that and cannot fathom why he would. The edits showing with "track changes" enabled shows exactly what was changed. Not only that, but I never accept edits wholesale to my own documents and certainly don't expect clients to do so. Sometimes, an editor's changes don't match my style or desired phrasing. Sometimes, I simply disagree with the edits. Sometimes, the editor doesn't have the correct information.
I figure if the document's author accepts 80% or more of my edits, then I've done a pretty darned good job.
However, in that client's document, the edits I made had mistakes. I neglected to make a noun plural. I missed verb-noun agreement in a rewritten sentence. The client pointed out three simple errors that he caught and which resulted in his spending his time proofreading. Unfortunately, when a document bleeds red from all the edits, it can be difficult to catch those errors among the markups. I'm only human and will never achieve to perfection. I aspire to excellence.
In short, the client expected a perfect document that could be imported by his graphic designer into the brochure. I didn't deliver on that expectation.
"If there is a next time," I told him, "then review the edits to accept or reject them and return the document to me for a second pass so I can catch what I missed the first time around."
Not my best moment.
Book Of The Month