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ShapeSphere
03-11-2007, 04:35 AM
This hasn't happened to me, but maybe it has to you. Before I begin... and to prevent misunderstanding or people's opinions becoming set in stone... I don't think my writing is the greatest in the world. Now read on with that in mind.

Have you ever sent a story, novel or article to an editor and they replied with gushing praise about how wonderful your writing is? The editor is genuinely ecstatic to have discovered such talent and can't hold back their pleasure.

Even if an editor did think this, would they actually say it?

If they did say it, it might be seen as unprofessional or financial suicide. The writer might feel compelled to ask for more money or look elsewhere at a bigger market. The writer might get ideas above his/her station.

Surely a smart editor plays it cool, as knows full well that the market is saturated with writers? The clever editor praises the writer a little to keep them motivated, but not too much so as to lose them or pay more.

What do you think? What are your experiences?

Claudia Gray
03-11-2007, 04:41 AM
An excited editor is happy to gush! And a smart writer isn't going to get ideas "above her station" and go looking for other editors if somebody smart says they love your work and want to buy it (unless you think it's a scam job, but that's an entirely different matter).

I am sure different editors have different definitions of "enthusiasm" -- some will burble on and on, and others will be more succinct -- but that is mostly differences in personality, not bargaining. I would find it very strange for an editor not to let on how much he or she liked an author's work.

An editor that expresses insightful enthusiasm is the best thing on the planet. Love them, hug them and thank the universe that you've found someone who "gets" your work and is in a position to buy it!

Birol
03-11-2007, 04:42 AM
Without evidence to the contrary, I would be very suspicious, but that's me.

CheshireCat
03-11-2007, 05:08 AM
As long as the gushing praise isn't followed by, "Now, all we're going to charge you to publish your novel is ..." I'd take it at face value, at least initially.

I've known editors who could praise a writer's work to the skies, and then turn around and be hard-nosed as hell when it came to negotiating the contract. (Quite a few of them, in fact!)

One of the services I believe agents provide to their clients is to be "the money person" so that the writer/editor relationship can be all about the writing and the creative process. I talk to my agent about needs and expectations when it comes time to talk contract, but then she's the one who deals with the editor and publisher about the details.

PeeDee
03-11-2007, 05:12 AM
Without evidence to the contrary, I would be very suspicious, but that's me.

I would too. I'd be smiling and saying "thankyou" and waiting in terror for the other shoe to drop........

silversisters
03-11-2007, 05:23 AM
This hasn't happened to me, but maybe it has to you. Before I begin... and to prevent misunderstanding or people's opinions becoming set in stone... I don't think my writing is the greatest in the world. Now read on with that in mind.

Have you ever sent a story, novel or article to an editor and they replied with gushing praise about how wonderful your writing is? The editor is genuinely ecstatic to have discovered such talent and can't hold back their pleasure.

Even if an editor did think this, would they actually say it?

If they did say it, it might be seen as unprofessional or financial suicide. The writer might feel compelled to ask for more money or look elsewhere at a bigger market. The writer might get ideas above his/her station.

Surely a smart editor plays it cool, as knows full well that the market is saturated with writers? The clever editor praises the writer a little to keep them motivated, but not too much so as to lose them or pay more.

What do you think? What are your experiences?
Not only the editors, but some agents. A few years back, my sister and I were offered a contract by an agent who seemed to be very legitimate. They were listed in Writer's Market and the Jeff Hermann Guide to Agents. The offer praised our book to the skies, but they wouldn't give us a client list. There was also no client list in the agent's guides. We went on to Editors and Preditors and saw some not so nice stuff, but figures what the Hey...people change. Their next e-mail told us they also needed at $300 deposit for copying and postage...RED FLAG. We wrote back saying that we had seen the negative posts on line but might take a chance if they would take the copying and postage out of royalties. The reply was that the agent had suddenly become ill, couldn't take any new clients and was rescinding the contract offer.

Everyone should be wary and always check people out.

PeeDee
03-11-2007, 06:10 AM
A very good point from Morgan. Excellent post.

Claudia Gray
03-11-2007, 06:14 AM
Just to clarify my earlier post -- you can expect (and trust) enthusiasm where you trust the source. My agent liked my work and said so, but she was with a reputable agency. Then the editor was happy and wrote some lovely e-mail, but she was with a reputable publisher. Legitimate people will be effusive if that's how they feel and it's in line with their personalities. So enthusiasm isn't the sole province of the scam artist; it can be totally genuine. But don't let it take you off your guard.

Leah J. Utas
03-11-2007, 06:16 AM
Turn and run and don't look back.

johnzakour
03-11-2007, 08:32 AM
I've had editors say really nice things. Not sure if it's gushy though.

Never had my agent gush, that's for sure.

Toothpaste
03-11-2007, 08:35 AM
I dunno, I have had some amazing postiveness from both my agent and my editors. I mean I know they are reputable, and the praise never seems forced or absurd. While I understand why people are saying beware, I think it is also important for authors to realise that if they have written a good book they are deserving of praise. Some authors just never think anyone is being sincere with them when they say good things.

silversisters
03-11-2007, 12:17 PM
Don't get me wrong. Legitimate praise is the sweetest music you can hear. It's just important to know where that praise is coming from. Right now I'm working on a novel called Deadly Dance. Normally I wait until I have a fully finished product to ask for critique, but this is a new way for me to write (first person, real time) so I've put it out for critique to people whose work I know and trust and when I get back replies like the following I'm just like a proud peacock. All I'm saying is if you don't really know the source it pays to take a bit of time to check them out, particularly if it is an agent or publisher holding contract in hand. Here is one I got today from a writer whose work I really like very much: "Well, you've done a great job capturing the story and an even better job creating some compelling characters. I look forward to reading more of Deadly Dance."

johnzakour
03-11-2007, 04:15 PM
All I'm saying is if you don't really know the source it pays to take a bit of time to check them out, particularly if it is an agent or publisher holding contract in hand.

When you send a manuscript to any source that you haven't researched you're just asking for trouble.

To me, praise on a manuscript is a like a critique, it's certainly nice to have, but if it doesn't come from somebody that can buy my book or help sell my book, outside of the ego boost it's not all that helpful.

Now once the book is publishered and on the market that's a different story for me. I will take praise or non-praise from anybody who bought (or given ARCs) and read my books and try to improve myself with it.

Jamesaritchie
03-11-2007, 05:23 PM
I find editorial gushing over great stories is not only common, it's the norm. Most editors, certainly the good ones, became editors because they love writing and writers. And this means they love to read good stories. Good fiction excites them, and from my experience, they always let the writer know when this happens.

It isn't unprofessional at all, it's being human.

I've had editors apologize for being slow to get back to me because everyone on the floor, once on three floors, wanted to read the story, and in order to get the manuscript back, he had to make copies to pass around. I've had editors say things such as "This is why I became and editor," or "This story is what writing is all about." And as ad editor, I've done my share of gushing over many of the stories I've loved.

Now, I'm certainly not the best writer in the world, either, but, honestly, it's rare for me to sell a story anywhere without receiving some sort of high praise from the editor.

As for the market being saturated with writers, well, yes, but certainly not with great writers. Finding a really good story from a really good writer is hardly a daily occurrence, and the percentage of dross to gold is about the same as the percentage of dirty pigs to clean pigs. To an editor, something really good is exciting, and something to gush about.

As for sending the work to a better market, well, huh? Say what? Any writer with enough sense to cross the street by himself always sends a story first to the biggest, best-paying market out there, and then works his way down.

One inviolable rule is this: If you start something off at bottom markets, the worst magazine that likes the story will buy it. If you start something off with top markets, the best magazine that likes it will buy it.

Asking for more money? This doesn't work at most magazines, no matter how much the editor gushes. But at many other markets, you're an idiot if you don't ask for more money. The reason a fair number of markets do not pay more is that writers do not ask for more.

ShapeSphere
03-12-2007, 10:33 AM
I think if an editor is prepared to buy your work then it can be generally assumed they think itís good or they think the readers will find it good. Iíve received helpful and positive feedback from editors and see that as intelligent relationship building and sound business practice. As others have said - gushing praise is okay, as long as it is backed up with a contract and payment.

The matter of pitching to the highest and best market has been helpfully and fully discussed on these forums, and itís something I always do, but itís worth bringing up again for people who are unaware. I did that when I lived in China with some non-fiction ideas pitched at British (and American) newspapers. I was aiming for The Times, Telegraph, etc. When nothing happened, I worked my way down. Of course, now that Iíve mentioned that, somebody will call me a mad idealistic fool for assuming that I could break into such a market when such quality newspapers have plenty of outstanding journalists in the country.

A point regard finding the best markets. I spent (and continually spend) a lot of time on the Internet looking for markets, and despite search word variations, different search engines, and so on, itís still possible to miss out on something. I was casually reading a post on this very site and somebody mentioned a new paying market that I had never heard of or found. Maybe I am the only person in the entire universe this has happened to. (As an analogy think of an item bought or a holiday flight booked. You spent ages looking for the best deal, yet as soon as you have bought it, the next day you see an advert for a great price or a friend/co-worker comes along and tells you of something better. Even though they knew you were looking! Again, maybe I am the only person in the entire universe this has happened to.)

Personally, I would do my research before submitting, and if an editor likes it a lot, I might ask for more money, but certainly wouldnít withdraw it and look for a new market.

Some more questions. Have you received astonishing adulation and asked for more money but then been met with hostility? What about the editors on this forum Ė whatís your approach or experience? Iíve heard the writersí perspective, but wonder what you think. If I was an editor I most definitely would give positive feedback as a happy writer is a productive writer.

ATP
03-13-2007, 12:03 PM
I have raised this issue elsewhere in another forum and thread. Praise is fine and is not issued regularly, at least by my editors. My experience suggests that this is a matter generally related to editor gender and sector.

Praise and bylines are but the accoutrements of the job, if I could call them that. At the end of the day, it is all about business. Praise or none, if the editor likes your material (and/or satisfies his readers), he'll ask you for more; or at least give some indication of wanting more, if not asking you outright.

Yes, you can ask for more. And there are right ways and wrong ways of doing this.

Yet, being 'issued' editor praise is not the same as receiving an Oscar. An Oscar recipient can and usually does increase his fee sometime shortly following the award.There is the box office knock on effect behind this.

On the other hand, a contributor to say a consumer or trade magazine-which will likely have more advertising revenue than a literary magazine-is wise to get a track record with that editor and magazine before seeking to begin a " " X" [name of editor] , I would like to talk to you about our present arrangement..." discussion.

Siddow
03-13-2007, 05:56 PM
The short work I've sold always comes with some sort of praise: excellent, you have a great command of pacing, very good at building suspense, I just couldn't stop reading! I've even had one call to tell me how much she loved my story. These all were accompanied by checks.

I've even had rejections that contained praise. My most recent said, Still, there's a lot to love here...this part in particular was awesome. Very creative.

Go figure. I'll take praise however it comes.

Cathy C
03-13-2007, 07:16 PM
Yes. I've had it happen on several occasions. Since both editors were employed AS editors for national publications/publishers and asked to see the work without asking for money, I was forced to believe them. It gave me confidence to send the work out until it found a home.

On the other hand, if the editor is looking at the story as a PAID EMPLOYEE of you (e.g., you've paid them money to correct the work), then their view is somewhat suspect. In this case, I'd be optimistic, but realistic until I had more data from third parties.

ETA: I can't say I've ever asked for more money than the offered price. Yeah, I can imagine that after submitting something when you KNEW the price just to raise it when the work is deemed "good" would elicit hostility. Now, I might ask for more the NEXT time, but not with that same story. I wouldn't feel comfortable about doing it. :Shrug:

Jamesaritchie
03-14-2007, 04:35 PM
Yes. I've had it happen on several occasions. Since both editors were employed AS editors for national publications/publishers and asked to see the work without asking for money, I was forced to believe them. It gave me confidence to send the work out until it found a home.

On the other hand, if the editor is looking at the story as a PAID EMPLOYEE of you (e.g., you've paid them money to correct the work), then their view is somewhat suspect. In this case, I'd be optimistic, but realistic until I had more data from third parties.

ETA: I can't say I've ever asked for more money than the offered price. Yeah, I can imagine that after submitting something when you KNEW the price just to raise it when the work is deemed "good" would elicit hostility. Now, I might ask for more the NEXT time, but not with that same story. I wouldn't feel comfortable about doing it. :Shrug:

The trick with asking for more money is knowing your markets. Some markets simply will not and cannot pay more than they do. Others can, and are more than willing to do so, if the writer simply asks. At some markets, however, asking for more money not only won't elicit hostility, the editor laughs every last time a writer fails to ask for more.

If you're bashful about asking, you need an agent who will ask for you.

ShapeSphere
03-15-2007, 08:31 AM
I have raised this issue elsewhere in another forum and thread.

I did a search on the seven pages of threads started by you. Do you mean this one?

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=31578

Or could you just provide a link?

ATP
03-15-2007, 09:24 AM
I did a search on the seven pages of threads started by you. Do you mean this one?

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=31578



The link below leads to the post I referred to earlier. Unfortunately, memory is not infallible - it was a thread begun by another...

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=41575&highlight=editor+praise (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=41575&highlight=editor+praise)

ATP
03-15-2007, 02:34 PM
The trick with asking for more money is knowing your markets. Some markets simply will not and cannot pay more than they do. Others can, and are more than willing to do so, if the writer simply asks.

Does this statement reflect and fall within the general markets mentioned in my earlier statement above (#16), or are you referring to others?

Jamesaritchie
03-15-2007, 06:09 PM
Does this statement reflect and fall within the general markets mentioned in my earlier statement above (#16), or are you referring to others?


It can mean almost any market. You simply have to know the editorial policy, and the best way to learn this is by asking. No editor should get mad because you ask for more money. He can always say no.

Troo
03-15-2007, 06:27 PM
I'm enthusiastic about receiving good subs in the mail, but then money isn't involved where I do my editing, so it's a moot point :D