Ahhhh, editors. Writers, love to hate on them when the rejections come in. If you’re like me, you also like to secretly pass judgment on their selections. Your inner critic flicks on the hyper-drive and reading those stories that were granted the ever elusive gift of publication becomes less pleasureable and more cathartic. You know your story was SO much better than the one they picked. What was it with that awkward opening sentence? And the mind-numbing use of conjunctions to open every single paragraph?
But you always have to step back and admit when your wrong.
And you always have to realize that your voice was one among hundreds, possibly thousands, which were vying for the editor’s ear.
Everyone has their horror stories. I haven’t been doing this long enough to accumulate many. I have seen two publications which were openly making final decisions as the deadline clock ticked. You’d be slaving away on a piece and they’d throw out a post, “Oh, this angle on the theme is taken.” As if a looming deadline weren’t enough, they wanted to add a bit of sport by tossing in a moving target. Not best practices in my not so humble opinion. I’m new here though, so this may be this is normal?
So far though, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some fantastic people. My editor highlights far out shine the dark times. Whether it has been line editing on my few published pieces or the tiny bits of back and forth in the submission process.
Last night, I was sending in a piece right under the wire. This morning, I found an email in my inbox letting me know the format was incorrect and I needed to resubmit! Embarrassing? Yeah. But for the editor to go out of their way and give me a shot at correcting it – its more than I could ask for.
I also recently submitted a story to the Deep Cuts anthology, a story that I have been wrestling with for months now. I’ve bounced it around to some of my crit group members, sent it off to a professional editorial service (subject of another post – I wanted to try it), and re-written it three times. There’s something salvageable there, somewhere, I just can’t seem to find it.
At any rate, the rejection I received, though a form rejection, was thoughtfully written and spoke highly of the stories they had received. There was also an incredibly gracious offer by one of the editors to answer any questions as to why the story was not selected. They assured the writer that each of the three editors read every one of the submissions (I believe the final total was over 250) and gave them equal consideration.
While I was of course disappointed, it was tough for me to be too negative. In fact, it made me eager to see the final anthology. Consider me impressed.
Sadly, I saw a tweet by Angel McCoy, one of the editors, not long after the emails were sent out. She mentioned she had been cussed out by someone for that rejection.
It does make me appreciate the difficulty of the editor’s position, though. You’re trying to find things that connect with your style and the greater public all while dealing with some of the most eccentric people on the planet. We writers do need a good slap in the face to bring us back to reality, but it’s nice to be let down easy every so often. Hats off to all the Kind Editors, your work is appreciated.
Any good or bad editor stories out there? Feel free to share, I’d love to hear them! (Try not to make personal attacks though and feel free to change names to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent.)
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