~Responds to When Writers are Jerks Article~
What a jerk that writer was about the nonpayment that she apparently forgot to record!
Not only do you pay FAST, you pay when payment was not even expected or asked for. I sent you something about a year ago–just something I was getting off my chest–and lo and behold, you liked it. So, even though I had not requested payment, you paid for it! Really quickly. It was such a treat. It is too bad that you have to get nastygrams from people who don’t even keep their own records straight; you are probably the first and only editor in my 35 years of freelancing who has ever sent me a check that fast.
Laura Harrison McBride
I just finished reading your editorial about hate mail and the woman who accused you of neglecting to pay her. As I read about the way you responded and the way you felt like responding, I found myself smiling and thinking that you are a lady with class. Then I realized that those of us who really appreciate the work you do for us should be letting you know how we feel instead of letting negative people do the talking. Thank you for the consistent good job you do in helping us writers. Keep up the good work!
Mark L. Redmond
In reference to your article about writers being jerks, it reminds me of an incident at a local grocery store recently. An old man bought two packs of cigarettes, paid with a twenty, and then accused the lady behind the counter of not giving him ten dollars change. If this had been the first time he did that, he could be excused for being confused. This clerk, who I have known for four years, knew he was just trying to get two packs for the price of one. She told him that he had purchased two and paid with a twenty. Fortunately the man didn’t make a scene but it illustrates just how some folks like to scam others by acting like they weren’t at fault.
I don’t know the writer you mentioned so I can’t judge her motives. What can be gathered from the exchange is either she’s lousy at keeping records or she might have been trying to get more money out of you, just as you pointed out. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and I’m glad you didn’t flame her or cut her a cheque. This should serve as a lesson for all of us writers. I must admit that I’m not good at record keeping. From today onward, I’m going to keep records of which articles I’ve sent and which query letters I’ve sent so I won’t either forget or ask for payment twice.
I sure liked your answer to that writer. It’s way too easy to lash out and give as much as you received. That’s why Christ taught about loving those who hate us and praying for those who despitefully use us. This makes us more noble and reveals the petty nature of those who flame. Usually such people have something eating at them and they take it out on others.
~When Writers Get Hate Mail~
I was happy to see Q&A about writers getting hate mail. Just a few days earlier, I had published a column that somehow ended up on a website that generated over 20,000 hits to my little local column. I got hate mail from all over the country. In three years of writing that column, I’d only gotten one negative response, so to get bombarded with hate mail was really upsetting. I felt better after responding to one of the people who’d sent an unpleasant e-mail and he responded back with an apology and some compliments. He also told me where my column was posted and when I found it I realized why I got so many weird e-mails….some people just have too much time on their hands and nowhere else to vent their nastiness. I felt better after reading your response, too, and realized that I shouldn’t take it personally.
Just wanted to thank you for your wonderful newsletter. I read dozens of newsletters for writers and the content you pack into a single issue is tremendous. You provide an incredible service to writers. Keep up the great work!
Director, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop
and author of In the Beginning, There Were No Diapers