Another Poetry.com Potential Victim Saved!
Just a quick note to say thanks for doing good in the world. Last week when a friend told me proudly that her daughter had won a several thousand dollar prize from Poetry.com and they were going to Florida to pick up the award, warning bells went off in my head. I knew I’d seen Poetry.com in your Warnings section. I gave her the WritersWeekly site info. They’re not going to Florida. They’re saved from heartbreak and being thousands of dollars out of pocket, thanks to your site.
You probably get lots of letters like this but I figured one more THANK YOU 🙂 wouldn’t hurt.
Writers Who Argue With Rejection
I enjoyed your piece about arguing with editors. As editor of FundsforWriters, I also receive queries every week, and I have to reject the majority as well. Often the reason is simply that we did that angle a few months ago or I know we are covering that information in an upcoming issue and all slots are full. It usually has nothing to do with the writer personally. However, sometimes the writers do shoot themselves in the foot. I’ve had them…
1. Argue with me that the piece DOES fit the need for FundsforWriters in a sorta, kinda different way;
2. Ask me to make a decision quickly since they are headed out of town and wanted to know before they left;
3. Ask me if I’d made up my mind yet – one day after submission;
4. Ask me to run it in one specific newsletter and not another (I publish four);
5. Ask me to tell them in detail what is wrong so they can fix it and resubmit.
I’ve had articles resubmitted three times. Receiving a written critique of the piece is not a wise use of an editor’s time. In the time she could review the piece and make editorial comments, she could write a piece from scratch. Newsletter editors purchase copy from writers to save time as well as inform the readers.
I enjoy reading submissions and learn a lot from some intelligent writers, but not every one can fit the mold no matter how well-written the article is. And editors must be editors. Writers should do a turn as an editor for a few months and learn the difficulties involved. The experience would give them a great two-sided view of what it takes to select articles for a publication. Saying “no” is not fun.
I know I’ve learned from editing that when an editor does not like my work “at this time,” I take it as gospel, thank them for the experience, and move on. Questioning an editor’s response is like saying, “Are you sure you know what you are doing?” That’s not exactly the best way to get a second query reviewed, especially considering all the other competition.
Thanks for the good editorials, as always.
C. Hope Clark
Editor, FundsforWriters, http://www.fundsforwriters.com
The expert at finding funds for writers.
Author, THE SHY WRITER, An Introvert’s Guide to Writing Success,
Leigh Ann says…
I’m the managing editor of a national health magazine. I subscribe to your newsletter to keep up-to-date on writer concerns — and to make sure I’m being the best editor I can be. I really appreciate the valuable information you include.
This week, you printed a particularly good article, “Don’t Argue With Editors After Rejection.” I am so amazed when a writer argues with my rejection or comes back with a flip, defensive comment (something about how they really don’t need “good luck” with their piece because they’ve already had interest from other magazines, etc.). Most writers, as you said, take the rejection with a nice “thank you for your consideration” and then might even come back with more pitches — which I will consider. Those who argue or get defensive make themselves look like they don’t know how the business works — that rejection is more common than acceptance.
Rejection is never personal. Writers should never take it that way. And an editor doesn’t care whether your article has been accepted elsewhere, so no need to mention it — it just looks like you’re trying to tell them, in a subtle way, that they were oh-so-wrong for rejecting it in the first place. Also, when we say “good luck” or use some other such phrase, we don’t mean it as an insult, for goodness sake! We don’t like writing rejection letters any more than anyone else, and we’re just trying our best to make it as cordial as possible.
Thankfully, most writers are very kind and professional, and when an argumentative one pipes up, that just makes the nice ones look even better.
Thanks again, Angela, for your wonderful newsletter. I’ve learned a lot from it.
Leigh Ann Hubbard
Family Doctor: the Magazine that Makes Housecalls
P.O. Box 38790
Colorado Springs, CO 80937-8790
I liked your piece about upsetting an editor on story pitches. You should have told that woman to go into public relations!
I get pitches every day from PR reps that are so far out of the realm of my publication’s coverage that it’s nuts. Then they try to convince you why their story idea (usually some bogus product pitch) is so good for our readership. You took the words right out of my mouth when you said (essentially) “I’m sorry, but I think I know my readership better than you do.”
Editor’s Note: Read today’s article, Don’t Spew Venom at Editors After Rejection, to see what happened after I published last week’s article.