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Twizzle
06-02-2007, 01:28 AM
I've been lurking for a while, trying to read as much as I can from all of you. And have learned a lot. Esp about submitting fiction pieces (not novels). But I have a question. Maybe someone can help.

There's a lot of advice here not to irritate or anger editors--an example-pulling a work after submitting or simul submitting when told not to. Writers being afraid if they anger one, they could hurt their industry reputation.

But then there's threads about how overwhelmed editors are with the sheer number of submissions they need to sift through. And I've read some magazine guidelines that have even said things like we get 10,000 submissions a year. And there's thousands of markets.

Don't editors change jobs frequently too?

So, yes, I suppose theorectically, you irritate or anger an editor he may remember you. He may warn off others. But really, the numbers would seem to say, noone will probably remember WHO you are? I mean it can't be both ways- they're overwhelmed but remember every writer?

I'm just confused.

(no, I'm not going to try it. ;) I know, I know. It only takes once. And I would never risk it. just curious and confused. )

The Lady
06-02-2007, 01:34 AM
Well see, if you irritated them really badly, they might just remember you, people being what they are.

But if you just keep sending them rubbish stories which is a mild form of irritation (and something I'm sure you'd never do) well then I'm sure you just slip under the radar.

BTW, a forum member, by his selfish behaviour, on another forum, once irritated me so much I will forever remember the name.

But, he's going to get away with it, cos I'm going to be writing, not editing. :D

pconsidine
06-02-2007, 01:46 AM
Speaking as a former editor, it's a total day by day thing. There were days when irritating stuff was just that - an irritation. But there were days when what would have been a minor nuisance the day before was such a monumental affront to my sensibilities that I would have gladly set fire to whomever was responsible for it. Sadly, editors are human beings with all that entails.

But even still, my files only ever consisted of notes like "good idea, but poor execution" or "maybe for department, never for feature." And I have never, ever dissuaded anyone from reading a particular author's work. It's not my job to save another editor from having to do his. That may be spiteful, but there you have it.

Will Lavender
06-02-2007, 01:54 AM
Here's where you can get into trouble.

You send a story to, say, Prairie Schooner [are they still operating?]. They want it, and they inform you of that on a Monday morning.

You're elated. Ecstatic. Happyasalark. But!

You've sent that same story to ten other journals. On Tuesday afternoon, Zoetrope calls and wants it. The editor you speak to tells you that she fought for it; that none of the other editors were behind it but she plead, groveled, battled for your story. And aren't you so pleased that she won the battle?

"I'm sorry," you tell her, "but Prairie Schooner has already made me an offer."

"Didn't you read our submission guidelines?" the editor says, incredulity just dripping from her voice.

"But I--" you begin to explain.

Click.

Six months later you send Zoetrope another story. It makes it past an intern, a contributing editor, and then all the way to the editorial board for review. You're one step away. But the editor you spoke to on the phone gets a look at the submission, recognizes your name on the cover letter, and...

So this is one scenario that could, indeed, "irritate" an editor.

We were debating this very thing on the short fiction forum not long ago. I'm of the mind that, while the above scenario is definitely possible, how plausible is it? There are just too many writers, too many submissions, and too few legitimate publications. I think if you're writing good stories, it won't matter if that editor at Zoetrope remembers your or not. They'll want what you got.

talkwrite
06-02-2007, 02:11 AM
Interesting thread here. authors can also behave badly during the editing process and make life difficult for editors. I edit a professional and scholarly series of books and my last author really angered me. It was what she did during the final edits of her book- not replying to calls or messages then attempting to contact the production editor so as to bypass some of the edits I requested of her. She won't write for us again (can't stop the book now in production, with my edits) Also it is a tight knit genre and other publishers will contact me for a reference when / if she queries them. I don't expect most people would be that much trouble and I have a great relationship with all my other authors. Oh, I've turned down submissions but always say- "please let me hear from you again"
Talkwrite

pconsidine
06-02-2007, 02:17 AM
Talkwrite makes a most excellent point. Some markets are so insular that peeing in one editor's pool will contaminate the entire pond for you.

In my editorial experience (music journalism), there was little or no discussion between editors about writers. But that's because popular music is a vast market. Were I editing a publication exclusively about, say, Renaissance madrigals, things might have been a bit different.

Jamesaritchie
06-02-2007, 03:47 AM
I've been lurking for a while, trying to read as much as I can from all of you. And have learned a lot. Esp about submitting fiction pieces (not novels). But I have a question. Maybe someone can help.

There's a lot of advice here not to irritate or anger editors--an example-pulling a work after submitting or simul submitting when told not to. Writers being afraid if they anger one, they could hurt their industry reputation.

But then there's threads about how overwhelmed editors are with the sheer number of submissions they need to sift through. And I've read some magazine guidelines that have even said things like we get 10,000 submissions a year. And there's thousands of markets.

Don't editors change jobs frequently too?

So, yes, I suppose theorectically, you irritate or anger an editor he may remember you. He may warn off others. But really, the numbers would seem to say, noone will probably remember WHO you are? I mean it can't be both ways- they're overwhelmed but remember every writer?

I'm just confused.

(no, I'm not going to try it. ;) I know, I know. It only takes once. And I would never risk it. just curious and confused. )

The point is that an editor has a job to do, and the job benefits YOU. So you're being silly if you go against the rules.

And you don't have to remember every writer. Those who give you a pain in the rear are the only ones you need to remember, and trust me, as an editor, I do remember such writers. Yank a story out from under me and your name gets written down, and I tell every other editor I know about it during bitch sessions.

And despite the hoopla, sim-subbing is usually a dumb move, even when magazines allow it. It will let you build a much faster collection of rejections, but it is not a good way to get published.

But it's really not about making editors angry, it's about being professional enough to know your side of the desk isn't the only side, and that editors work just as hard as you do. If you want editors to respect you and your writing, then you need to respect the editor, his job, and his rules.

rugcat
06-02-2007, 03:50 AM
It was what she did during the final edits of her book- not replying to calls or messages then attempting to contact the production editor so as to bypass some of the edits I requested of her.You don't have to walk on eggshells and worry about offending editors. All you have to do is be professional--in other words, the opposite of talkwrite's example.

I have no experience with short fiction, but I've never had a problem with my editor, nor have I given her one. Apart from my belief that it's important to act professionally, when the editorial staff is trying to decide whether to buy another book, if the previous ones have only sold so-so, I want her in my corner.

Tish Davidson
06-02-2007, 03:57 AM
Interesting thread here. authors can also behave badly during the editing process and make life difficult for editors. I edit a professional and scholarly series of books and my last author really angered me. It was what she did during the final edits of her book- not replying to calls or messages then attempting to contact the production editor so as to bypass some of the edits I requested of her. She won't write for us again (can't stop the book now in production, with my edits) Also it is a tight knit genre and other publishers will contact me for a reference when / if she queries them. I don't expect most people would be that much trouble and I have a great relationship with all my other authors. Oh, I've turned down submissions but always say- "please let me hear from you again"
Talkwrite


I've worked as an editor for scholarly material, too, and found that some scholars are extremely resistant (and I'm being polite here) to editing and will go to great lengths to ignore requested changes, make them, then try to change them back in the galleys, or simply refuse to respond until a deadline forces you as an editor to either go with the unedited original or insert you own edit, which is risky because you can inadvertently introduce errors into specialized information without realizing it. I've found these people much more unpleasant and irritating than people who submit in non-standard ways, mainly because there is no way to avoid contact with them until the project is over. After that, they are generally blacklisted.

Twizzle
06-02-2007, 07:20 PM
pconsidine--well, okay--I'll admit, I don't follow the signs that tell you to shower off before you go in the pool. I feel bad about that whole tainting their pool with sunscreen thing, but not enough to overcome the creepy public showering thing. Even in a bathing suit.

ick.

I have not, however, ever peed in the pool. :D and I promise I won't, ever.

thank you--I appreciate you all answering my questions. seems it depends on the market, editor, and how much of a jerk you are. I also promise to (try) to never irritate an editor.

pconsidine
06-02-2007, 08:51 PM
I think the best you can do is the best you can do. Follow the guidelines to the best of your ability and try not to worry about anything else. After all, editors are people, too, and most will respect a good faith effort not to piss them off, whether it was successful in the end or not.

Plot Device
06-02-2007, 11:14 PM
I never knew this stuff in fiction writing.

With Hollywod scripts it's a lot different.

In Hollywood, if you have a good agent, he'll get you set up with no less than ten pitch meetings. One writer told me he typically gets 40 such meetings via his agent. He'll pitch to a half dozen or more actors first to see if any of them want to make it their next vehicle. Then, after he has "attached talent" as they say (meaning Julia Roberts wants this script very badly, so if anyone buys the script, she comes along with the package deal, so she is automatically "attached" to the project) he'll next pitch to many studios/production companies at once. If two or more production companies want your script, you now have landed yourself smack in the middle of the scriptwriter's dream come true: a bidding war.

pconsidine
06-03-2007, 01:11 AM
Yeah, that doesn't really happen in publishing. Unless it's an ex-President's memoir or something.

Jamesaritchie
06-03-2007, 01:16 AM
I never knew this stuff in fiction writing.

With Hollywod scripts it's a lot different.

In Hollywood, if you have a good agent, he'll get you set up with no less than ten pitch meetings. One writer told me he typically gets 40 such meetings via his agent. He'll pitch to a half dozen or more actors first to see if any of them want to make it their next vehicle. Then, after he has "attached talent" as they say (meaning Julia Roberts wants this script very badly, so if anyone buys the script, she comes along with the package deal, so she is automatically "attached" to the project) he'll next pitch to many studios/production companies at once. If two or more production companies want your script, you now have landed yourself smack in the middle of the scriptwriter's dream come true: a bidding war.

This is sort of like what sometimes hapens with novel writing, only here it's called an "auction." But just as with screenwriting, the average Joe Blow doesn't get to go this route.

Namatu
06-03-2007, 05:26 PM
I've worked as an editor for scholarly material, too, and found that some scholars are extremely resistant (and I'm being polite here) to editing
"Extremely" doesn't seem like it could be an understatement, but it works in this context. I know exactly what you mean!

cjmouser
06-03-2007, 06:28 PM
I've worked with just about every kind. The kind that won't edit a word of my stuff leaving me terrified that I may have injected a blooper in there that won't get caught. I've had them change the endings of stories, change the dialect of a character to the point that I don't recognize them anymore. I've had them sit on material long past when it should have been published. I've had them delete minor cuss words and insert symbols or change "goddamn it" to "gosh darn it." I've had them completely butcher stories, moving paragraphs around until the piece makes no sense at all. I've run the gamut from horrible, abusive rejections to, "I'll print anything you send!"

I had one agent tell me that he would NEVER READ ANYTHING FROM ANYBODY that had a copyright on it. I'm still wondering about that one. I had one publisher swear that I'd never have a book published until after I had a book published. How does that work? Then I had a publisher that read ONE of my pieces and agreed to publish a book full of them and I am working on at least one, possibly two more ms for the same publisher. Editors/agents/publishers are people. There are good ones and bad ones.

PeeDee
06-03-2007, 07:28 PM
I'm polite to editors for a lot of reasons, and very, very low on the list is "hurt my industry reputation."

I'm nice to editors because 1) They have a thankless job that, at a certain point, is done for the love 2) They are jes' folk, jes' like me 3) To be rude to them is.....rude.

I'm as nice to editors as I am to a friendly checkout cashier. And why not? It's all hard work. Why not be a decent human being about it? A lot of problems can be solved (and caused) painlessly by being a Decent Human Being all around.

talkwrite
06-03-2007, 10:44 PM
I really do enjoy seeing a book I have worked on to edit come into existence- get published. I get a thrill out of the reviews and watching people buy it ( I attend signings and lectures too) . I feel protective of my authors and felt it was important to work for a publisher that was respectful and generous of authors. I will quit if that changes.
In light of the awareness of the important elements of a good relationship between editor and author shown on this thread- please indulge me in saying that I am looking for more authors for my series. I posted a Call for Manuscripts in Writers Wanted-Paying Markets. http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=63088
Yes, it is a stretch of a genre but the market is begging and the royalties are...well, remember what you paid for text books in college????. The experience is very very good.
Enjoy,
Talkwrite

Jamesaritchie
06-03-2007, 10:51 PM
I had one agent tell me that he would NEVER READ ANYTHING FROM ANYBODY that had a copyright on it. I'm still wondering about that one. I had one publisher swear that I'd never have a book published until after I had a book published. How does that work? Then I had a publisher that read ONE of my pieces and agreed to publish a book full of them and I am working on at least one, possibly two more ms for the same publisher. Editors/agents/publishers are people. There are good ones and bad ones.

I won't usually read anything with a copyright symbol on it, either. Experience has taught me that when I see such a symbol I'm dealing with a writer who's a pain in the ass to work with. There are always exceptions, or course, but they're rare enough that I don't take the chance.

It does get a bit irritating when writers start complaining about editors. I've been on both sides of the desk a fair number of times over the last thirty years, and for every bad, pain in the ass editor I've encountered, I've seen at least twenty bad, pain in the ass writers. some with talent, some without.

cjmouser
06-04-2007, 01:05 AM
Well, the thing is, how do you know who you're sending your material to? If it's not someone that I have been referred to our has been referred to me, I get a little nervous. I guess it depends on the material you write, but good ideas are stolen everyday. If someone has a problem with a copyright, then I have a problem with them, and go to someone else.

Most people couldn't care less if you have copyrighted your material and why should they? If it seems pretentious, well so be it. Is it pretentious to lock up a bike in New York City even if it's older, with flaking paint, a tattered seat and maybe not really unique? If it has any value at all, and if it means anything to you at all, you protect it.

Tish Davidson
06-04-2007, 01:52 AM
Well, the thing is, how do you know who you're sending your material to? If it's not someone that I have been referred to our has been referred to me, I get a little nervous. I guess it depends on the material you write, but good ideas are stolen everyday. If someone has a problem with a copyright, then I have a problem with them, and go to someone else.



Ideas can't be copyrighted whether you have a copyright symbol on your manuscript or not. Only your words are copyrighted, so basically you aren't protecting your idea and you may potentially be alienating editors. The worth of a piece of writing is in the execution, not the idea. How many of us have had people approach to us and say, "I have a great idea for a book (or script, or movie). How about I tell you and you write it and we split the profits." My response is always that ideas are easy, putting the idea into compelling prose is hard.

cjmouser
06-04-2007, 02:18 AM
Then what is the point of copyrighting?

Will Lavender
06-04-2007, 02:43 AM
Then what is the point of copyrighting?

Good question.

I'd never heard of such a thing until I came to AW, and still don't quite understand why anyone would do it.

Tish Davidson
06-04-2007, 04:10 AM
Then what is the point of copyrighting?

Since you are a new AW member, I suggest that rather than having us post the same information on copyright for the zillionth time, read these threads, and then come back and ask questions if you still have any. Also check out the official U.S. copyright web site at http://www.copyright.gov.


http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16659 (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16659)

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58845 (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58845)

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1201405&postcount=4 (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1201405&postcount=4)

http://www.writing-world.com/rights/index.shtml (http://www.writing-world.com/rights/index.shtml)
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/statusicon/user_offline.gif http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/buttons/reputation.gif (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/reputation.php?p=1300576) vbrep_register("1300576") http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/buttons/report.gif (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/report.php?p=1300576) http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/buttons/quote.gif (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/newreply.php?do=newreply&p=1300576)

aruna
06-04-2007, 08:24 AM
This is sort of like what sometimes hapens with novel writing, only here it's called an "auction." But just as with screenwriting, the average Joe Blow doesn't get to go this route.

Of course he does! Anyone can have an auction. All you have to do is write an auctionable book. Easy-peasy!;)
That's when you stop being an average Joe Blow.

(If you don't believe me, check out Pat Wood's story. Pat is Orion, an AW member. She was just an average unpublished writer, doing the agent rounds, then she wrote Lottery and the entire publishing world fell to its knees before her.)

Cate
06-04-2007, 09:15 AM
Well. Do I have a lot to say here!

I have worked with some dream editors--not only do they open an e-mail conversation with some lovely remark about the weather or ask me how I'm doing, but they are right on top of everything and anticipate my every thought. Truly--I'm not kidding. And I adore working with them. It has been my experience that the higher paying the publication, the more pleasant the editor--although I am sure many would dispute--so please remember it is my experience here I am sharing only. I have also worked with a number of lower-paying markets with great editors.

However...

As with anything, there is the flip side of the coin...and this is going to feel good to get out...

I've had editors that have added their name to my byline, I've had editors that have tried to cheat me out of payment saying they thought I was sending a reprint when I clearly had stated it was a submission where I had written the piece specifically for them. I have had editors not respond to several follow-ups and then finally contact me (I'm persistant) to say that they wanted to use my piece. I've had to continually haggle some for payment (please don't defend--they ignored me until being able to let me know I would be paid--not professional).

Bottom line for me? As much as I am a writer who has to prove themselves in professionalism, talent, skill and delivery, editors too are out there waiting to show me what they are made of. I'm always hopeful, but skeptical given my experiences over time. I think it is probably the same for all of us--editors and writers. For all the good ones--there are a lot of sub-standard ones as well.

chibeth
06-04-2007, 09:17 AM
Well, the thing is, how do you know who you're sending your material to? If it's not someone that I have been referred to our has been referred to me, I get a little nervous. I guess it depends on the material you write, but good ideas are stolen everyday. If someone has a problem with a copyright, then I have a problem with them, and go to someone else.

Most people couldn't care less if you have copyrighted your material and why should they? If it seems pretentious, well so be it. Is it pretentious to lock up a bike in New York City even if it's older, with flaking paint, a tattered seat and maybe not really unique? If it has any value at all, and if it means anything to you at all, you protect it.

If you are submitting to legitimate publishers/magazines/whatever, the editor is not going to steal your work. That's just silly. When I get a manuscript with copyright symbols on it, it says to me that the writer is an amateur who probably hasn't done his or her research about the publishing industry. That won't stop me from reading the manuscript, but it does color my opinion of it.

I've had plenty of people do irritating things, but I never sweat the small stuff if the person is otherwise polite. People who behave in a nasty way? I put a comment next to their name on my submission spreadsheet so I'll remember it if they ever submit material to me again. (I also note down if a person was especially nice, btw.) Just to clarify--if a person who was particularly nasty ever did resub to me (hasn't happened yet), I'd probably pass his or her MS to a different editor. I can't imagine just rejecting it outright.

Cate
06-04-2007, 09:37 AM
On the copyright issue...

I think if someone does want to steal your stuff--they'll just do it. I have never copyrighted my writing when sending in...although I do with my photography...

I don't think most editors would do that though--even the not-so-good ones. The closest I came was the name-adding to the byline thing....

Medievalist
06-04-2007, 09:46 AM
Then what is the point of copyrighting?

Read this: FAQ: On Copyright (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58845)

You as a writer create words in a particular order, with specific and unique meaning. Words are protected by copyright from the moment you create a work. Publishers, and sometimes, writers pay to register that copyright; mostly that just means that if you do have to sue you can, if you win, collect more money.

But copyright is there from the start, automatically.

cjmouser
06-04-2007, 03:23 PM
Tish. I wanted to know what YOU think the point of copyright is. I understand the purpose of copyrighting. I have no issues with to copyright or not to copyright. I've already demonstrated that I think it's a necessity in some cases.

I guess I'm not so much worried about someone stealing my stuff as I am not getting credit for what I've done. I'm not even entirely sure that there is such a thing as a unique idea anymore. I'm more concerned with having my material used without my permission, and/or without writing credits, and frankly, if an editor or publisher has a problem with a copyright disclaimer then I have to wonder why.

If I can take them at face value and accept the risk that they may be a pain in the ass to deal with, then they can accept the same risk. They're not doing me any favors by reading or utilizing my material. If it's good enough it is, if it's not, oh well. What good is an editor without material to edit? Why automatically assume that I must bend over backwards to suit them? I follow the submission stipulations to the letter and submit the best material I can, that's my part of the deal

If an editor discounts material out of hand for WHATEVER reason and does not read the obligatory first three or four paragraphs, then they are simply not doing their job. If they do read it and I haven't hooked them, then I am not doing my job.

talkwrite
06-04-2007, 06:20 PM
Well, the thing is, how do you know who you're sending your material to? If it's not someone that I have been referred to our has been referred to me, I get a little nervous. I.

Two tips here: #1 Contact that editor's authors with specific questions about that editor- privately and confidentially. Questions that lay out your concerns. Even if they tip off the editor and it is complimentary- you can be up front about it-you are shopping a valuable commodity. You'll be viewed as savvy.
I ask each published author to be available to communicate with each potential author. So far, each author helps promote all the books in the series and they network. I encourage them to talk privately and honestly with proposing writers. This works for me because if the new author has intentions or an approach that could be problematic- it would cause problems for the established authors and they don't want that either.
#2 Promote the good editors and your good experiences with them on forums like this and in any articles on writing.
Publishing is a business and it will respond to the same elements of marketing and accountability.
Talkwrite

Medievalist
06-04-2007, 06:30 PM
Tish. I wanted to know what YOU think the point of copyright is. I understand the purpose of copyrighting. I have no issues with to copyright or not to copyright. I've already demonstrated that I think it's a necessity in some cases.

You really oughta go read the FAQ.

I think, but can't tell from your posts, that you're talking about registering copyright, and generally, writers don't because publishers do, after the work has been accepted and edited. Depending on the work and the publisher, the publisher is going to register the copyright on the author's name, and then will license specific rights from the author, for pay.

You have copyright as an author from the moment you write; it's inherent in the process of writing.

cjmouser
06-04-2007, 06:36 PM
Good advice, talkwrite. But sometimes it seems that this writing business is far too political.

People used to become doctors because they wanted to help people. Others became cops because they wanted to see justice done, or became priests because they wanted to spread the Holy word. I became a writer because I love to write. I could not refrain from writing if my life depended on it. If I can make a living at it, so much the better. I just don't have the aptitude for the business end of it, so I have to hope that the material carries itself. If it doesn't I haven't really lost anything because I would be writing anyway. So far, so good. ;)

PeeDee
06-04-2007, 07:00 PM
You really oughta go read the FAQ.

I think, but can't tell from your posts, that you're talking about registering copyright, and generally, writers don't because publishers do, after the work has been accepted and edited. Depending on the work and the publisher, the publisher is going to register the copyright on the author's name, and then will license specific rights from the author, for pay.

You have copyright as an author from the moment you write; it's inherent in the process of writing.

Of course, none of this applies if you're Harlan Ellison....God knows why.

Tish Davidson
06-04-2007, 08:08 PM
Tish. I wanted to know what YOU think the point of copyright is. I understand the purpose of copyrighting. I have no issues with to copyright or not to copyright. I've already demonstrated that I think it's a necessity in some cases.

I think that I have been making a living as a writer for 20 years and that if an editor is going to use something without permission, then it will happen whether or not I have a copyright symbol on the work or whether I have registered the copyright. As for registering copyright, it is a waste of your time and money as an author. Publishers will register the copyright of your book in final form.

I also think misuse of material is most likely to happen to things that are published or archived on the Web, and that when it happens, the author only occasionally finds out, but again, having either the copyright symbol or registering the copyright makes no difference to people who will swipe your stuff. Many people are ignorant about copyright on the Web and think anything is free for the taking. Some others know about copyright and simply don't care or have philosophical disagreements with it, believing all information in the Web should be free.

There have been times when I have not been paid for a published article in a small magazine, but that is because the magazine had failed and gone bankrupt, not because of any intention to steal my work. I consider the occasional failure of a magazine to be part of the cost of doing business as a freelancer.

You say that editors are not doing you any favor by reading your work because where would they be without material to edit. Not having enough material to edit is NOT a problem in publishing. Having too much material to wade through to find good writing that has a salable topic, correct audience slant, the correct length and is written in an interesting, grammatically correct way is the problem. Editors use all kinds of strategies to weed out the clearly unacceptable submissions they get a ton of every week. Some of these strategies are strange and quirky, but it isn't for you to tell them how to winnow the writing wheat from the chaff. They either find a way to do this successfully or they don't stay an editor for long.

There is simply no point in ranting against editors who won't read things with copyright symbols, won't read things not in Courier, not read things sent priority mail, etc. If you write a good story and it is rejected by an editor because it violates one of their sorting quirks, then send it out to someone else. If it is good, it will find a publication home. If it isn't, meeting all the editor's sorting quirks in the world won't make the piece publishable.

Jamesaritchie
06-04-2007, 08:26 PM
If an editor discounts material out of hand for WHATEVER reason and does not read the obligatory first three or four paragraphs, then they are simply not doing their job. If they do read it and I haven't hooked them, then I am not doing my job.

Where did you ever see job specs that state an editor has an obligation to read anything? I've never seen such, and I've never been asked to do such by those who hire me. If I request something from you, I'll at least read part of it, but when I have 3,000 manuscripts piled up, and more coming in each day, I not only don't have an obligation to read some part of everything, there isn't enough hours in the day to do so, no matter how well-intentioned I may be.

All sorts of things, from packaging to cover letter to format to font, can cause any editor to transfer material from the in pile to the out pile without reading a few paragraphs. There's nothing obligatory about it.

As for that little copyright symbol. it really means nothing. You already own the copyright, and I am not going to steal your story because it isn't worth stealing. If I did want to steal a story, I'd steal one from Stephen King. It's worthless, too, of course, once I take his name off it, but at least I can say I stole a story from Stephen King, even if there isn't a thing I can do to make a dime from it.

But experience has taught me there's a good chance I will have problems with the writer who placed it on there.

But, really, it's all about time and experience. I have no time. None. Zero. I'd have to work eighty hours per week just to stay even. I don't have time to sign for manuscripts sent by registered mail, I don't have time to open manuscripts that are nailed shut, and I don't have time to read a word of a manuscript when the cover letter says something really stupid.

And experience does tell me this writer or that writer is likely to cause problems, and I also don't have time for problems.

I want to find good manuscripts, I love to find good writers, but I am under no obligation, there is no rule, written or unwritten, that says I have to read a single word of anything that I didn't request.

cjmouser
06-05-2007, 12:43 AM
Where did you ever see job specs that state an editor has an obligation to read anything?

I haven't. I just kind of made the leap ... it sounded like the fair way to take a writer seriously or not, by reading at least a few paragraphs to see what it's all about.

I know people who do all kinds of wierd little things to manuscripts ... colored paper ... scented paper ... special wrapping. Most of us realize this is a grievous mistake, but such trappings still don't determine whether or not the manuscript inside is waiting to be on the top of the next best seller list. The only way to find out is take a peek at it.

I understand busy. I work two full time jobs, have three kids still at home and help run a 30 acre farm. That's why I don't have time to learn all the preferences of what editor likes and dislikes what. So I do the best I can. I have two stories for sale rgiht now on Amazon.com that I don't make anything off of. That's my bad for not reading the fine print, I guess. Neither were copyrighted. So, some background into my obsession with CR or not to CR. Sorry for dragging it on so long.

PeeDee
06-05-2007, 12:52 AM
I know people who do all kinds of wierd little things to manuscripts ... colored paper ... scented paper ... special wrapping. Most of us realize this is a grievous mistake, but such trappings still don't determine whether or not the manuscript inside is waiting to be on the top of the next best seller list. The only way to find out is take a peek at it.


Except it DOES determine a lot about the manuscript, and not onyl that, about the author. If the book's decent, but the author is batshit, then I'm taking a book or a story that potentially won't sell well, and bringing myself somebody who doesn't have all their shingles on their roof.

There are gems hidden in the crazies, but not always, and not enough to make it worth it. Why dig through someone's doiley-covered manuscript package to find out what they've written (80% chance it's crap, or they'll be impossible to work with) when you have this nice, clean, printed-to-specifications manuscript sitting next to you which sounds great and looks interesting?

Cate
06-05-2007, 01:10 AM
I do have to agree that I dislike having to try and determine--and cater to--the differing whims of editors. While some things are certainly reasonable, I have a hard time agreeing with the fact that editors are so busy that they can justify making unreasonable requests of writers.

On the flip side of things--and this goes both ways--if editors don't like being so busy, or have become so jaded that they will not give at least most submissions a quick glance; I think they need to move on to another job. I really tire of the constant complaining that there is no time--there is always time if things are set up properly, and if not, then the field needs a re-vamp and people need to stop just taking it. Same goes for writers--and I have considered quitting myself--it is a terribly annoying field having to start from square one with every new publication, but I could always do something else too....I don't think the "status quo" will be changing any time soon...

In the meantime, I continue to look for those relationships that I build with good editors, that we both enjoy and get something out of....I think that is the key to being as happy as you can be in this field.

cjmouser
06-05-2007, 01:12 AM
doiley-covered manuscript

Now that ... made me laugh out loud. What a visual.

The sad part about the entire publication process is that a whole bunch of it is subject to personal taste. The stuff I write about will never go over big in New York Ciry. But in rural Kansas or Central Texas, it does fairly well. I know some editors look at my stuff and say , "oh hell no." Then the next one loves it. You really have to be hardy to be in this business. Or really just not give a damn.

Robin Bayne
06-05-2007, 02:11 AM
I saw the thread title and thought it was about how irritating editors could be.:roll:

cjmouser
06-05-2007, 03:40 AM
Well, it was ... at one point. It fell victim to TFTD (Typical Forum Thread Dilution)

Tish Davidson
06-05-2007, 03:41 AM
I do have to agree that I dislike having to try and determine--and cater to--the differing whims of editors. While some things are certainly reasonable, I have a hard time agreeing with the fact that editors are so busy that they can justify making unreasonable requests of writers.


What do you consider unreasonable requests? The editors I know what clean, readable manuscript, double spaced, reasonable font size and style, printed on one side of the paper, not stapled, submitted either by regular postal mail or e-mail in the format they specify AND that tells a compelling story with a minimum of mechanical errors. I don't think those are unreasonable requests. What editorial requests you experienced that you consider unreasonable?

Namatu
06-05-2007, 03:56 AM
On the flip side of things--and this goes both ways--if editors don't like being so busy, or have become so jaded that they will not give at least most submissions a quick glance; I think they need to move on to another job. I really tire of the constant complaining that there is no time--there is always time if things are set up properly, and if not, then the field needs a re-vamp and people need to stop just taking it.
There is not always time. Good editors do what they can in the time that they have. They may work a lot of overtime and weekends, and they want to represent their writers and their writers' work in the best way possible.

The field will be revamped when it becomes cost-effective to do so. Writers want to be published. It'd be nice to make a living off of it. Editors want to publish books. In an ideal world, there's ample time for thorough review and manuscript polishing and writers and editors all develop close, personal relationships. Unfortunately, it's a business, and all businesses need to make money. Most do so by operating with as little as they can to get by and make a profit. This is true of any industry. A writer's and editor's work and the nature of it is contingent on the marketplace. If you think editors have the power to change that, you're quite mistaken. We're all replaceable. There are always people willing to "take it" and those may be the editors who say "good enough" instead of "great."

Frankly, I don't get paid much as an editor, and I like having a life outside of work. I do what I can at my job, in the time that's available, and I carve out extra time when I need to, but I can't coddle all of three hundred plus authors on one project and I can't delay a project because an author needs more time. The company wants its revenue and there's nothing I or the writer can do about it. Bottom line: Publishing is a business. Every writer would do well to learn as much about how it works as possible and to understand that, while it's your work, to the publisher, it's always about the money.

cjmouser
06-05-2007, 04:00 AM
Oooh! Oooh! Can I?

Please only submit material certain days of the month.

Please only submit one piece at a time. (Even if you use separate e-mails)

Please only hand deliver. (This one didn't last)

Please only bill me twice a year and include all tear sheets.

(You have to remember I write newspaper columns and feature articles as well)

I have had editors leave with no notice leaving my material stockpiling in an abandoned e-mail account.

I have had editors promise payment that never came.

I have had editors suddenly stop running my material with no notice and no explanation after running it for two or three years consecutively. This happened twice. Did I say something that pissed them off? Did something I wrote rub them the wrong way? I'll never know.

Like I said before, editors are people too. They're not all the same, and some of them are pretty danged irritating. Hey looky there, we're back on topic.

Jamesaritchie
06-05-2007, 04:02 AM
I really tire of the constant complaining that there is no time--there is always time if things are set up properly, and if not, then the field needs a re-vamp and people need to stop just taking it. .

Not true. Simply not true. But, yes, there needs to be a re-vamp. The reason there is no time is largely because writers simply don't listen.

At any given time, at least a quarter of my slush pile is there only because writers decide to go the simultaneous submission route, even though my guidelines say we do not allow this. Another ten percent of the slush pile is there because writers apparently can't read guidelines. I'll give you an example of how the first sentence of a cover letter can cause instant rejection. I know you don't usually publish horror novels, but I have written a great one that I think would be perfect for you.

No, you haven't. It's not that we don't usually publish horror novels, we never have and never will publish horror novels, and our guidelines clearly state no horror novels.

I've been reading slush for a publisher friend for about three weeks now, and this is just one example of cover letters that make me want to scream.
I've had cover letters blasting me for not allowing simultaneous submissions, and saying they're doing it anyway, just because it isn't fair not to let them. I even had one cover letter protesting double spacing on the grounds that it wastes paper and is bad for the environment. And so many cover letters that contain spelling and grammar errors, or nearly unreadable sentence structure. Even cover letters warning me not to steal their precious story, which, in this case, was about as precious as a case of the back door trots. Sorry, but you're outta here unread.

I'm reading two types of slush: 1. Slush sent directly by writers. 2. Slush submitted by probably honest agents who have no clue what good writing or good storytelling is. Neither holds much promise.

I have a lot more time than most editors because all I'm doing is reading slush, but I still don't have as much time as I need. Why? Priorities. Slush is not high priority anywhere, to anyone. In three weeks, I've waded through just about a thousand manuscripts and partials. I've passed five along to my boss, and rejected the rest. I have two more that I may pass along, but I don't think there's one chance in fifty that an offer will be made for any of the seven. This publish does buy a manuscript from the slush every three or four years, but that's about it.

But this is out of my hands. My job is to turn a mountain into a molehill, and simply to pass along anything that shows promise. There isn't much. Certainly not enough to give the slush priority, not enough to justify hiring more eyes, and not enough to make me stop writing and going about my life just to read a bit more slush each day.

Time is a legitimate problem. An hour contains sixty minutes, and only God can change this. No matter how I arrange things, I still have sixty minutes in each hour, and this is not enough time to treat every manuscript and every writer equally.

I'm not jaded. I love finding good novels and promising new writers. But writers must play by the rules in this business, just as in any other business. Not doing so is self-destructive, and, well, stupid. Especially in the age of the Internet when researching what editors and agents want, and how they want it, is quick and easy.

If there's anyone who needs to stop taking it, it's editors. And they largely have, which is why you're going to have a devil of a time landing a publisher of any size unless you go through an agent. The best thing about agents is that they now get most of the headaches, the problem writers, and the incredibly weird cover letters.

Most editors really are nice people who love writers and writing. But you really do have to play by the rules, you have to follow guidelines, you have to do your research, and when an editor says he doesn't want something, don't send it to him. When an editor says he needs something one way, do not send it a different way.

No matter how tight time might be, you'll get a fair reading, if you don't come in thinking you know more than the editor, and violating guidelines in any way is always saying you think you know more than the editor.

You're not likely to get any reading, fair or not, if you send by registered mail, if you submit in a package I can't open without a jackhammer and a stick of dynamite, if your cover letter is full of typos, spelling errors, or stupid statements, if you use a font that gives me a headache, if you single-space, if you even hint that I might steal your story, if you bind the manuscript, or if you do anything else that experience has taught me means you're more trouble than you're manuscript is worth.

The good news is that getting it right is child's play. Just follow the guidelines, do about half an hour of research, and you're in. There are bazillions of writing sites that tell writers how to submit, what to do and what not to do, and most writers do get it exactly right. When a writer doesn't, I can only assume he either doesn't care enough to read guidelines and look at pro writing and publishing sites, or he's a troublemaker.

cjmouser
06-05-2007, 04:05 AM
I know you don't usually publish horror novels, but I have written a great one that I think would be perfect for you.

Oh, pfffft! Somebody always thinks they are above the rules.

It's hard for all of us; as writers, it's very hard to make any income while wading through one lengthy series of rules after another. I'm all for the re-vamp, too.

Cate
06-05-2007, 08:23 AM
First off--this isn't personal--it is my experience and I write only for magazines. Some of us writers not only listen, we pride ourselves on following guidelines, writing clean copy and covering all the bases that we have been asked to do--and then some if we can. Honest. I know you don't see many of us--but we are out there--and believe me--we are on the same side. Sloppy, unprofessional writers stand in our way by taking up your time and making you not want to take a chance on someone new. For some reason many people seem to have a monumentally difficult time following simple directions. Go figure.

Also note: I do not claim to have any knowledge whatsoever about book publishing in any detail that is meaningful to this discussion. I imagine this is a bit of a different animal...

I am not saying the majority of editors don't work hard and try to be fair to writers. I know they do. Most have a very tight schedule or a whole slew of pain in the you-know-what writers to deal with; or both. I grant you that for sure, and I feel your pain.

However. I stick to my guns on the time issue--it is something I believe in my core. While it may be tight, if it isn't "doable" or you are totally behind and miserable all of the time, I think that you are selling yourself short if you don't put your foot down. People will always push you too far. Again, this is my opinion. I don't think it is healthy to live a life that stressed out all of the time if it is truly that bad. My comment was that there is always time if things are set up properly. Its the key to life in my opinon, and I don't mean to belittle anyone who is very busy. I'm very particular about managing my time. I doubt I could be an editor. Too much pressure and it is harder to set the limits. That is why I'm a writer...

I agree that publishing is a business and don't expect to be coddled and I never ask for more time. I manage my workload so that I don't ever burden an editor as such. I disagree that it cannot be changed by those within the system. Call me an optimist! :)

Unreasonable requests? Sure...here you go, just a couple:
+ Following the very detailed guidelines to the letter on a magazine's site, only to be told to do it a totally different way after submission and being chastized harshly for following the directions. When pointing out the guidelines on site, being told "that if I wanted to be so picky I could submit elsewhere." Then, having the editor repeatedly e-mail me with a tone bordering on harrassment, to ask me when I was going to re-submit after I declined to be published with them--twice. I'd call the whole situation unreasonable.

+ Being asked to write a piece with a word count of between 500 and 700 words. Sending in the submission at 690 words and being told to "just add a little more info" four different times. After the second, I asked for clarification on the word count and was told I would be paid the price for the 500 to 700 words, but they just wanted some more text "this one time." Each time I asked specifically what they wanted, they told me, I wrote it and they asked for more. I could go on, but .... the final piece wound up being 1,250 words. Not cool. I was younger. Wouldn't put up with that now...but at the time I figured that I already had a lot of time invested in the piece.

+ Being asked to write an article on one subject, then getting it in early, only to be told that they had wanted something totally different. The editor had accidentally assigned my piece to another writer and then forgot he asked us both to do it. The editor said it was my mistake and asked for proof. I produced the e-mail with the assignment letter--to me. The editor then asked me to write the "missing" article, which I did, and then he did the same thing again--assigned the "missing" article to the other writer too. I did get an apology this time--but the other writer got paid for both pieces. How do I know? The editor sent me both pieces with edits for reveiw and suggested I submit an invoice. It was addressed to the other writer. Then the editor started sending me e-mails asking when I was going to ok the edits--after I brought the mistake to his attention and stated I wouldn't be working for him anymore. The other writer even e-mailed me to apologize.

I have no problem following rules, or doing things to make an editor's life easier. Actually--I am really conscious of the fact that they are very busy and try to bother them as little as possible and make their life as easy as I can. I like being on top of things and making a good impression--I work very hard. Plus, it's good business. All I ask is to be treated fairly in return.

I agree that most editors are nice people and I have met many who are. My peeve is when I follow all of the rules and get punished for it by one of the ignorant editors out there--and no matter what anyone here says--they are out there.

Kudos to the comment about learning as much as possible about the business...everyone should who is in it--no matter what their position. Thats why discussions like this are valuble!

Tish Davidson
06-05-2007, 09:32 AM
However. I stick to my guns on the time issue--it is something I believe in my core. While it may be tight, if it isn't "doable" or you are totally behind and miserable all of the time, I think that you are selling yourself short if you don't put your foot down. People will always push you too far.

***

+ Being asked to write a piece with a word count of between 500 and 700 words. Sending in the submission at 690 words and being told to "just add a little more info" four different times. After the second, I asked for clarification on the word count and was told I would be paid the price for the 500 to 700 words, but they just wanted some more text "this one time." Each time I asked specifically what they wanted, they told me, I wrote it and they asked for more. I could go on, but .... the final piece wound up being 1,250 words. Not cool. I was younger. Wouldn't put up with that now...but at the time I figured that I already had a lot of time invested in the piece.

+ Being asked to write an article on one subject, then getting it in early, only to be told that they had wanted something totally different. The editor had accidentally assigned my piece to another writer and then forgot he asked us both to do it. The editor said it was my mistake and asked for proof. I produced the e-mail with the assignment letter--to me. The editor then asked me to write the "missing" article, which I did, and then he did the same thing again--assigned the "missing" article to the other writer too. I did get an apology this time--but the other writer got paid for both pieces. How do I know? The editor sent me both pieces with edits for reveiw and suggested I submit an invoice. It was addressed to the other writer. Then the editor started sending me e-mails asking when I was going to ok the edits--after I brought the mistake to his attention and stated I wouldn't be working for him anymore. The other writer even e-mailed me to apologize.


Aren't you being a little hypocritical telling editors that they should put their foot down about having too much work and not enough time because, as you say, people will always push you too far and then giving 2 examples where you allowed yourself to be pushed and pushed and pushed without putting your foot down. It's easy to tell people to draw the line when they are being pushed. In real life, it's hard to do.

PeeDee
06-05-2007, 10:03 AM
James really nailed the slush pile business on the head.

And one of the reasons -- which he touched on, at length -- that there is no time for slush reading is that the editor's doing other things.

I work for BBT magazine, we all know that. So, at any given time, I've got an e-mail folder that's buried in slush stories. I could read them all in two days or so of concentrated effort.

Except...I also need to get my columns written and posted. I am working on layout for issue three, and anyone who does magazine work knows what a ball-buster and an annoyance layout is. I'm building a section for the site. I also work a job, I like to occasionally see my wife, once in awhile I try this "sleep thing" and somewhere in there....slush?

Usually, slush reading comes out of my personal writing time.

If I read five stories in our slush pile, three of them will be perfectly decent stories (maybe) that will just have nothing to do with our market. I'm speculative fiction and satire. I can stretch that pretty far. A western/romance/gay-love story is going to do me surprisingly little good.

Then there's the perfectly well written story that I read a good ways through, because it's a fine story, except that it devolves into a weird bondage/spanking story at the end. There goes five minutes.

So after awhile, you find ways to save time, and to save exhaustion. So you just try to get grabbed by the first paragraph (not very often). As a rule, I don't reject because of the cover letter itself (although on a bad-tempered day, I rejected because he kept saying "fiction novel")

And then, at first, you include personalized notes to everyone because you love reading, you love writing, THEY love reading, THEY love writing, you're all on the same side, right? And for awhile, it's a warm glow, you get a couple of thank-you e-mails for your advice and for reading.

...and then, some dumb fuck posts your comment on his blog to complain about how you just didn't GET his story, his BRILLIANT story. And suddenly, there goes a lot of your warm fuzzy glow.

Being an editor is fun. There's lot of fun sides to it. I read a story the other day that was like a Cthulu story, if Agatha Christie had wrote it, and I adore it. I can't wait for us to publish it, because as a reader I loved it. Things like that make me happy. But from an editor's standpoint, there's allllll sorts of crap to wade through.

And that's just me on a smallish magazine. I would be terrified to be working for a fiction novel book publisher.

cjmouser
06-05-2007, 02:27 PM
...and then, some dumb fuck posts your comment on his blog to complain about how you just didn't GET his story, his BRILLIANT story. And suddenly, there goes a lot of your warm fuzzy glow.

I've seen that done and it's nothing but sour apples, plain pure and simple.

ATP
06-05-2007, 03:52 PM
Unreasonable requests?:
+ Following the very detailed guidelines to the letter on a magazine's site, only to be told to do it a totally different way after submission and being chastized harshly for following the directions. When pointing out the guidelines on site, being told "that if I wanted to be so picky I could submit elsewhere." Then, having the editor repeatedly e-mail me with a tone bordering on harrassment, to ask me when I was going to re-submit after I declined to be published with them--twice. I'd call the whole situation unreasonable.

+ Being asked to write a piece with a word count of between 500 and 700 words. Sending in the submission at 690 words and being told to "just add a little more info" four different times. After the second, I asked for clarification on the word count and was told I would be paid the price for the 500 to 700 words, but they just wanted some more text "this one time." Each time I asked specifically what they wanted, they told me, I wrote it and they asked for more. I could go on, but .... the final piece wound up being 1,250 words. Not cool. I was younger. Wouldn't put up with that now...but at the time I figured that I already had a lot of time invested in the piece.

+ Being asked to write an article on one subject, then getting it in early, only to be told that they had wanted something totally different. The editor had accidentally assigned my piece to another writer and then forgot he asked us both to do it. The editor said it was my mistake and asked for proof. I produced the e-mail with the assignment letter--to me. The editor then asked me to write the "missing" article, which I did, and then he did the same thing again--assigned the "missing" article to the other writer too. I did get an apology this time--but the other writer got paid for both pieces. How do I know? The editor sent me both pieces with edits for reveiw and suggested I submit an invoice. It was addressed to the other writer. Then the editor started sending me e-mails asking when I was going to ok the edits--after I brought the mistake to his attention and stated I wouldn't be working for him anymore. The other writer even e-mailed me to apologize.

The problems you’ve listed give rise to the impression that the publications were primarily newsstand consumer publications? Or were they with web publications at the lower end of the pay scale?

I don’t know how recent these were, but hopefully they are part of some distant past experience. If not, then you really need to learn to become very sensitive to the ‘red’ flags. This is not always easy to do - I think that you need extensive experience to be familiar with all or most of the things that magazine editors do or can get up to. I write for trades, and not for consumer publications - but some of the things that I have read about these so-called ‘glamour’ magazine editors neither pleases nor interests me one bit. Your experiences make me think that they were gained with commissions for such publications. Where possible, you ought to have these situations addressed in your subsequent contract
(you do have a written, signed contract, I hope…?).


...Tish’s earlier comments are correct. Submission of material according to the mechanical specifications, along with a story that is compelling, told well, and which meets the editor’s/readers’ requirements - or as one
ex-editor put it, the material satisfies the editor’s ‘what’s in it for me?’ – should, according to the comments of others, instantly put you in the top 10% of contributors, if not the top 1%. These figures maybe arbitrary, but the general ‘proof’ of success is a request to contribute further material.

(There was a related discussion around a year ago in the Freelance forum) (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35863&highlight=mustard (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35863&highlight=mustard))

I think that provision of such material will not only be viewed favourably by the editor, but perhaps will help make his/her day a lot better. And, if he/she is in a positive frame of mind, and you are the catalyst for this, then this is the basis of a ‘beautiful relationship’, isn’t it? But, just don’t forget, that like any long-term relationship, things change. You have to be sensitive to the fluctuations, and at least in this form of relationship, when problems arise, you have to know when they are redeemable or it is time to ‘jump ship’.

PeeDee
06-05-2007, 04:11 PM
I've seen that done and it's nothing but sour apples, plain pure and simple.

Absolutely. The problem is, apart from his own, the apples it tends to sour are your own, a little bit.

cjmouser
06-05-2007, 04:21 PM
I absolutely hate it when someone uses a public venue to air a private matter, especially when they name names. It's childish at best and never leaves a good impresssion of the complainer.

dub
06-05-2007, 04:32 PM
I absolutely hate it when someone uses a public venue to air a private matter, especially when they name names. It's childish at best and never leaves a good impresssion of the complainer.

And very well could be illegal. Slander applies to the net.

cjmouser
06-05-2007, 04:36 PM
I bet it does ... probably in spades.

Bartholomew
06-05-2007, 05:01 PM
http://images.ucomics.com/comics/nq/2007/nq070520.gif

cjmouser
06-05-2007, 05:04 PM
I'll be damned if there wasn't a perfect example in my e-mail this morning to emphasize the subject of this thread.

> Dear (writer),
>
> Thanks for submitting your writeup.
> We find that the word count for it is 786, please
> reduce it to 350 and
> resubmit it before 11th June.
>
> This writeup has really inspired us and we would
> like to give you a chance
> to fulfill the criteria of lass than 500 words.
>
> Regards
> (Editor)
> (Contest)

Now, I hunted high and low for a word count requirement and couldn't find one so I kept it at 7-800 words. I have no problem changing it. But, is he wanting it reduced TO 350 words or BY 350 words, because he also stipulates that the word count maximum is 500. I won't even go into the typo, because I constantly transpose letters, etc.

???????

I just replied asking the question. He may react in a dozen different ways ... he may simply not respond back, or he may get pissed off and accuse me of being too stupid to even consider writing for a living. He may snicker at his mistake and clarify himself. Mean time I have to firgure out how to cut this thing basically in half and still impart some type of heartfelt message. I'll let you guys know what happens. It's worth $500 so I'll do my best.

cjmouser
06-05-2007, 05:52 PM
It's gonna be all right ... I got a one sentence reply "No more than 500 words, thank you."

I also found it was surprisingly easy to dump the required number of words and still keep the gist of the thing. I ALSO found out that the link where the contest was posted did not have the word count requirement, but the actual site did. I shoulda went and checked.

PeeDee
06-05-2007, 05:56 PM
It's gonna be all right ... I got a one sentence reply "No more than 500 words, thank you."

I also found it was surprisingly easy to dump the required number of words and still keep the gist of the thing. I ALSO found out that the link where the contest was posted did not have the word count requirement, but the actual site did. I shoulda went and checked.

See? It's always the writer's fault, those high-falutin', fancy-thinkin' story-maker-uppers.

;)

cjmouser
06-05-2007, 06:34 PM
Yep, that's me. I dropped the ball. It was confusing though, because all the other requirements were posted such as deadline, format, send to, theme, etc. There was just no word count.

Bartholomew
06-05-2007, 07:08 PM
> Dear (writer),
>
> Thanks for submitting your writeup.
> We find that the word count for it is 786, please
> reduce it to 350 and
> resubmit it before 11th June.
>
> This writeup has really inspired us and we would
> like to give you a chance
> to fulfill the criteria of lass than 500 words.
>
> Regards
> (Editor)
> (Contest)
.

You should be far, far more concerned with the man's basic problems with spelling and syntax.

Will Lavender
06-05-2007, 07:13 PM
At any given time, at least a quarter of my slush pile is there only because writers decide to go the simultaneous submission route, even though my guidelines say we do not allow this.

How do you know this?

Cate
06-05-2007, 09:08 PM
As to my examples--yes--consumer publications--and all when I was just beginning. I would not go through that now, so I don't really think it is hypocritical.

I do also understand that there is a learning curve out there and "putting one's foot down" is best done after being somewhat established as a writer. I took my lumps in the beginning--ATP has a great point about being sensitive to the "red flags" and you definitely learn them as you go! And for the newbies out there--take ATP's advice on the signed contract--it will help spell things out for you and avoid hassles down the line.

I write for trades too and I really enjoy doing that. My experience is that editors tend to stay longer since they are often invested in the topic in one way or another--at least the ones I have written for. The relationships are nice b/c they know that you can give them what they need and you know how they like to do business.

talkwrite
06-06-2007, 08:52 PM
Interesting thread here. authors can also behave badly during the editing process and make life difficult for editors. I edit a professional and scholarly series of books and my last author really angered me. It was what she did during the final edits of her book- not replying to calls or messages then attempting to contact the production editor so as to bypass some of the edits I requested of her. She won't write for us again (can't stop the book now in production, with my edits) Also it is a tight knit genre and other publishers will contact me for a reference when / if she queries them. I don't expect most people would be that much trouble and I have a great relationship with all my other authors. Oh, I've turned down submissions but always say- "please let me hear from you again"
Talkwrite
Just found out from my boss/publishing house that the above mentioned author outright lied to me about having confirmation of permission from her company to write the book which is about their industry. And the company's lawyers have sent a letter insisting that we immediately stop production of the book. I am livid. My publishers are livid. I spent over a year on this book and handling this author with kid gloves. The gloves are off- all due to her ignorance and refusal to learn about and accept her responsibility. I am compiling all of my emails to/from her about getting that permission. Right now, I wouldn't be too tactful about any references on her, to say the least.
One P-O'ed editor.

cjmouser
06-06-2007, 09:02 PM
Oh, man ... you have every right to be irate. Goes to show that there are idiots on both sides of the desk. Will be instant messaging you, here shortly.

Namatu
06-06-2007, 11:11 PM
I hope you have a contract with the author. :e2chain: Get her!

Bartholomew
06-06-2007, 11:26 PM
How do you know this?

I'm very interested in how James answers this question.

pconsidine
06-07-2007, 01:00 AM
You should be far, far more concerned with the man's basic problems with spelling and syntax. Truth be told, only the typo is an actual error. The rest are stylistic quibbles that don't signify all that much.