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an editor, accept the fact that it’s unlikely you have anything any more valuable to say in rejection than the other unpublished writers in your workshop and have the humility to recognize that and just accept or reject, getting someone who’s an experienced copy editor to perform that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.)
(6) Don’t abuse your position for anything resembling quid pro quo for your own writing, if you’re not only an editor but also a writer.
(7) If you are going to be late responding to submissions–like, more than a month late–communicate with the writers affected so they know what’s going on.
(8) Pay on time, except when you can’t, and explain why in those cases, clearly and succinctly.
(9) If you don’t pay and you solicit from a so-called “name” writer and they say no, don’t go around saying that writer is a stuck-up arrogant bastard, when in fact that person needs to put food on the table.
(10) If you have held manuscripts for an issue for more than two years, have no real plan for publication, and are just hoping for a miracle to allow you to continue…have the good grace to fold and return the rights to the manuscripts to the writers in question.