Jun 13 2010

Writing lesson for the day

Published by at 7:42 pm under Editing,me vs. cancer = I win,Writing

Your writing lesson for the day:  Always google the editor(s) of any market to which you’re submitting.

I just received a personalized rejection note where the personal message seemed to be about a quite different story than I sent in.  This possibly makes more sense when you realize that in my haste to get the story off before deadline, I did NOT look up the editor as I almost always do, and thereby made one of the most elementary mistakes in the book: an incorrect gender honorific.

Not a good idea to offend an editor when trying to convince them your story’s worth buying.  Now to be fair, since I was busting butt post-cancer to catch up on my overdue (self-imposed) deadlines, the draft I sent this editor was not my cleanest draft ever, and I won’t be making that mistake again either.  (This time around, it was mostly a psychological victory to send it in — not to mention the anthology theme is quite along similar lines to my current novel-in-progress so it would have been cool to get a short story from the novel’s world into the anthology.)

No worries, it’s a solid story despite one editor’s opinion and I’ll clean up the draft and send it out again elsewhere, heck, sell several short stories from that world even!  And then sell the novel, which will get more attention for any anthologies I’ve sold Immortality House short stories to at that point, as well as help get attention for the novel.  That’s the plan, anyway, we’ll see how well it works.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Writing lesson for the day”

  1. Andreaon 13 Jun 2010 at 8:58 pm


  2. Bradon 14 Jun 2010 at 12:00 am

    This is an important specific case of the general principle: Know your audience.

    I generally think about this one more in the case of technical talks and non-fiction presentations, but it holds pretty well for the general case too.

  3. Reesaon 14 Jun 2010 at 8:02 am

    @Brad – excellent point! I think it would be wise if more writers looked at the editors they sent their work to as their first “audience” they need to interest or convince (after beta readers of course). It’s also a good idea to get a sample issue of the magazine or e-zine you’re trying to get your work into, or a previous edition of an anthology, or at least a blog, website, or some other way you can try to guess what sorts of stories a particular market/audience wants. duotrope.com has short summaries for each market listing, and is even trying to launch the feature of tags for genres and sub-genres and editor interviews, so a research-minded writer can better start trying to narrow the focus of where to send a story.