Flipside: Editor Responsibilities

The flipside of the Clues for the Clueless is, of course, editorial responsibility. The fact is, every editor screws up at some point, just like every writer screws up, but in general, here’re some pointers for editors.

(1) If you pay crap, be extra nice, prompt, and courteous to writers who submit to you because there’s no real reason why anyone should submit to you.

(2) No matter whether you pay crap or a decent wage, don’t make your guidelines needlessly complex, or insist on a needlessly complex manuscript format for submissions (beyond the usual decent margins/double-spaced).

(3) Value speed over pontificating. Most writers would rather hear “no” in one month than get a one-page analysis as a rejection in nine months.

(4) Don’t give personal excuses for why you’re late or having other difficulties running your publication, unless it’s catastrophic, like a flood wipes out your house. But if you’re getting divorced or something like that, keep that crap to yourself and suck it up, or fold.

(5) If you’re the kind of editor who can pick a story but you’re not good at specific comments…DON’T GIVE THEM. And don’t ask for rewrites–accept or reject. (Corollary: If you’re a beginning writer who has just become an editor, accept the fact that it’s unlikely you have anything any more valuable to say in rejection than the other unpublished writers in your workshop and have the humility to recognize that and just accept or reject, getting someone who’s an experienced copy editor to perform that function.)

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Ten Clues for the Clueless

I’ve been getting back into the swing of things in terms of submitting my short fiction, just because I’ve been writing more of it. And co-editing anthos, and hearing a lot from various magazine editors. And thus, from within the cocoon of that context, I have ten clues for the clueless.

Specifically, if you submit your fiction to a publication:

(1) Don’t query about your story two weeks before the average length of time the magazine says it responds in.

(2) Don’t withdraw your story in a huff two weeks after submitting it to a publication with a one-month response time.

(3) Don’t email an angry response to a friendly rejection.

(4) Don’t get upset if an editor you emailed a submission to rejects it a scant two hours later. Be happy you got a quick response.

(5) Don’t, if sending a snail mail submission, include a naked photo of yourself with your submission.

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Book Sale Victim: Jackson

The latest victim of our booksale: Jackson, our cat.

Me: “Honey–Jackson’s gotten strapping tape attached to his face.”

Jackson’s running around like a crazy thing, trying to get the tape off of his face.

Ann: “I’ll track him down…”

Minutes later…

Me: “Is he okay.”

Ann: “Oh, he’s ruined. Totally ruined.”

The State of the Short Story

I have my own opinions on this, but thought David De Beer’s long comment on my original post deserved to be “brought to the surface” for further discussion while I’m formulating my own post.

Jeff

De Beer’s Comments…

First, re: contributors/ writers – well, that may be true. See, there’s a few things I’m wondering about in the modern era that I can’t find definite answers for:

1) Are there more prospective writers today than before? I do think so, especially with the way teh internet has shrunk the world.

2) A question was asked on the Nightshade board once “What percentage of a magazine’s readers also want to be writers”. I’m tempted to say nearly all of them, at least at one stage or other. GVG surprised me by saying he thought only about 40%

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Evan Dando

Just a thumbnail review of the last solo CD from Evan Dando. The video above is actually one of the lesser songs from the CD, but still indicative of the overall quality. I’m very much impressed. The quality is great, and there’s a kind of hidden depth to the work. A lush yet restrained quality to the production. I almost feel like I’m listening to an Aimee Mann CD. Really great stuff. Infectious and rewarding repeated listening. Thanks to Matt Staggs for turning me on to it.

Now, with my beloved Gators losing to Auburn, it’s a good time to go smoke a cigar…

Jeff

Gotta Love the Bloody Book

Stephen King talks about editing Best American Short Stories. Gotta love the bloody book. What the heck does that have to do with anything? As for the article, a few things in there that don’t make sense. Like, Tin House has a very healthy circulation, as do many of the major literary magazines, which are not, in fact, just being read by would-be contributors/writers.

Halo 3

I don’t play video games. It’s nothing against video games–it’s that I don’t have the time. I played Myst and Myst 2, and that devoured hundreds of hours of my time. When I play a game, I play it obsessively until it’s done. And that’s why I avoid them. If I played, I’d never get any writing or editing done. I’m not addicted to alcohol or drugs or cigarettes, but video games constitute a real danger for me.

That said, this ad for Halo 3 is pure, unadulterated genius. I wish I got the same sense of sadness and hope out of most SF I read as from this damn ad.

Jeff

Utopiales: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4…

I cannot wait for this:

We’ve been working so hard on so many different projects, about 80 hours a week, I can’t wait to get to Utopiales with no internet, no projects to focus on except programming, and re-meeting old friends whilst meeting new ones as well.

The Utopiales organizers have been so nice and helpful, too.

Just a month away now…I can almost see it on the horizon…

Jeff