Editors vs. Writers
I know that before I was introduced to the world of editing, I thought I was waging a war consisting of anxious waiting that would lead to a one line denied e-mail. All editors claim ‘send us stories, send ’em, we need your talent, we can’t make this magazine without you.’ Without a doubt those words get you inspired. Until some months later when an e-mail pops up saying it ‘didn’t fit the publication’.
As a writer, that’s a part of riding the literary wagon. Until a few months ago, I had no idea what an editor truly did. Read stories? We all know that. A perfect job in our eyes, but some of you don’t realize that’s ninety percent of the day. Reading for hours and hours on end. Being sure that you read this story only yesterday. So much work passes through hand after hand only to have the Chief Editor turn it down. I had this idea to make sort of a help blog to mingle editors and writers. Let y’all see behind the curtain.
After you send a submission… What really happens?
Taking time with a piece of work is what editors do best. Dissecting the parts we would change, the parts we love, or maybe the whole thing is junk. Even though I am new to this world, some things grabbed my attention instantly. As assistant editor, I read through the first of the first, but I can’t deny anything. I spend time making notes for the head of the magazine. ‘Great read. Entertaining.’ Even when something is filled with grammatical errors, I finish the manuscript that is still passed on to the higher ups. I used to think when my e-mail or query was opened… I immediately received the denial or acceptance. In truth, it usually goes through two or three hands before the decision is made.
If it has a spark and an unbelievable twist… the acceptance may (usually not) come early. With my writing, I had a lot of things that made it to the top of the pile, but were denied when stories came through that had that extra zest. But, do we ever really know our story almost made it? No, the same letter goes to everything that’s been denied, but my advice to all the writers out there is to not think the denied e-mail is your last chance with the publication.
Politely thank the editor for taking the time to read your work. Think about it, an 8,000 word story takes a big chunk of time to read. Especially, when it’s been passed on to other hands. So, if that nasty denied letter comes, don’t hesitate in replying. Who knows, the editor may explain a little more in detail that it was a close run, but your punchline needed work. Even then, they may tell you to send another story or prose for your polite gesture. This happened to me three different times with the same story ‘Heroes Are Hard To Come By’. It just wasn’t right at any place I was trying to send it. So, I sat at the computer, and really tied myself down to reading through some journals I’d never heard of. I finally found ‘Dew On The Kudzu’. A perfect Southern home for a Southern story. It was accepted within 8 hours of sending it off.
Most magazines, e-zines, and journals don’t bring in any money. If they can’t pay the writers, they sure can’t pay the editors. Most of these people do it out of the love they have for the written word. They aren’t against you. Always remember to follow up on a story. Who knows, it could have been loved by the entire staff but wasn’t quite right for the publication. It’s not the end of the world by any means. Never give up on a story… just find the right place to send it.
This list is genius. It will certainly help find a place suitable for what you’re trying to send. Who knows, maybe even a home for your work…