Monday, October 8, 2007

Editors on Writers

Question: What annoys professional editors about writers?

Answer: Get my name right. Your query doesn't excite me. Sending unsolicited finished articles. Expecting an immediate reaction. Flubbing your phone call. Don't expect me to remember you. You didn't follow directions for the assignment. Belaboring the point. Ignoring word counts. No heading. No summary. No upfront paragraph that spells out its point in a nutshell. Missed deadlines. No contact list--for the purposes of checking facts. Don't like to be edited.

How to deal with these problems: Read the publication before writing for it. Read the masthead to know correct spelling and title of editor. Write compelling first sentence for your query. Don't submit unsolicited, finished manuscripts. [RayS: But check with the publication guidelines. Professional educational journals do ask for unsolicited manuscripts on particular topics.] Remind an editor once a month that you have submitted a manuscript. Polish your phone skills. Go right to the point. In a reminder put title in subject line. Remind editor of who you are, what the story is about and when you sent it. Update editor on your progress. Pull the reader into the story immediately. List all sources at the end of the story.

From: "Editors' Pet Peeves." Debbie Geiger. The Writer. May 2007, 30-33.

No comments: