Editors & Orphans

When Editors Assume…

Hi Angela,

I have to say that Idetect quite a bit of hostility towards editors in these two postings. In “Letters,” Mr. Barnes clearly has reason to complain, but he seems to want to paint nearly all editors with the same brush. For one thing, these awful policies are usually set by publishers, not editors. Second, there are manyfine editors out here working as hard as they can to make sure writers get their due–as a writer, you need to work hard to find them, unfortunately. I’m an editor and a writer, and as the former, I often go to bat for authors who deserve more than my employer is willing to give. Let’s be sure we acknowledge those of us who try to do our honest best. Those who work by deceitful means, as Mr. Barnes suggests, really don’t deserve to be called editors anyway.

And yes, of COURSE writers have to watch out for themselves when taking on assignments! Who else will do it for you? Which brings me to “When Editors Assume.” If you ask me, the author is the one who made an assumption in this case. I would never in a million years submit a manuscript without having a contract in hand, and I’m sure most writers would agree. It’s madness to do otherwise. I’ve even written for my sister’s company (she is also an editor) and have required her to provide a contract before I even sat down at my computer. The publisher in the letter you postedis not completely innocent, of course–obviously the company was trying to avoid payment. But it’s up to the author to make sure the terms of work are clear before investing time and energy in a project. Would you take ajobin an office, for example,without firstagreeing to a paycheck?

Thanks for taking my comments, Angela, and as always, thanks for all you do.

T. DeAngelis