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How to Insult an Editor
by Vicki Hinze.
Sponsored by:

Every issue of The Writer will help you become the writer you've always wanted to be - and help you produce the kind of writing that people will pay money to read! Learn the techniques that helped other writers get published...get the latest market listings...hear about upcoming contests  and much more!

Pulling a new "good one" on an editor is difficult. But authors are creative, and some put their hearts into  insulting editors.

Authors do have the advantage: they know editors are over-worked, they deal with half of the publishing community daily, and they're fighting constant deadlines. Stress tabs were invented for them--editors should be easy marks.

Why then does their "Shockability Index" remain extremely low? Because if it's an insult--even a darn good one--then they've been walloped by and weathered it before--probably more than once.

Still, there's hope. If a new twist can be tacked onto an old insult, a creative author can find it. To keep you from repeating the "tried and true," here's a sampling of what's cliche:

Situation: Editorial guidelines request authors query first on unsolicited manuscripts.
Insulting Response:
An Unsolicited Writer (UW) sends:
an entire novel.
typed single-spaced.
with a worn out ribbon.
on colored paper.
--an historical--when editor purchases only contemporaries.
and doesn't enclose a SASP to verify arrival,
then calls three weeks later because UW hasn't received a response.
even though UW didn't include an SASE.
and when editor reiterates company policy--as disclosed in the guidelines--that only self-addressed, stamped-enveloped submissions are returned to author,
UW grows furious.
So furious that a hard copy Bulletin Board message sent worldwide shows up on editor's desk wherein UW complains about editor's unfair practices and intimates that editor must be trying to steal her story.
which has editor's boss in an uproar, demanding to know why his "house" and his employee are on UW's "hit list."
a baffling question which nonetheless has editor spending hours explaining why she doesn't have a clue, spending more hours reassuring her "regular" authors that the allegations they've "heard through the grapevine" are not true, and spending her lunch hour scanning the slush pile for UW's manuscript--an historical--which editor must reject, knowing her "thank you note" will come in the form of a second, solid bashing on the worldwide Bulletin Board and will be personally reiterated in the women's room at the very next conference--which, naturally, it is.

Now you know what you're up against, "tack-on" hopefuls. It is hard to insult an editor with something new--unless . . . wait!

Would you settle for shocking Editor?

Shocking can be done in seven--just seven--easy steps!

1. Study the editorial guidelines before you write and/or submit.
2. Follow the editorial guidelines--if a query is preferred, send one.
3. Submit exactly what's requested in the proper format. (Namely, double-space type, no weird fonts, with a fresh ribbon--everyone in the business suffers from eye strain-- on 20#, white bond paper.
4. Enclose a SASP (self-addressed, stamped postcard) to verify manuscript's arrival.
5. Enclose an SASE in case of rejection (as a courtesy not a subconscious certainty that rejection is inevitable).
6. Don't gossip on Bulletin Boards--or anywhere else. Gossiping is not networking. Some Bulletin Boards find the practice intolerable.
7. If submission is rejected, always send the editor a thank you note. She's given your work her time.

And never, never, bug an editor in the women's room. It's rude.

Can you imagine it? If all authors popped it to editors by following the above steps, editors would be baffled! Stunned! Robbed of authorial war stories!

Good grief, it just hit! "Busy" is an editor's nature. Habitually tight-scheduled, the editor wouldn't just sit and ponder this authorial metamorphosis, the editor would read more manuscripts, faster--maybe ours.

Now wouldn't that be something?

Copyright 1996 by Vicki Hinze.


Dr. Vicki Hinze is an award-winning, best-selling author who routinely shares her expertise at national writers' conferences, online, and through her writing guides. Her latest non-fiction book is ALL ABOUT WRITING TO SELL, from Spilled Candy Books for Writers. This 589-page ebook covers everything you need to know about the craft of writing, the publishing business, and the secrets to getting published. ALL ABOUT WRITING TO SELL is available at as a download or disk.

Find More in our how to write series

How to insult an editor

How to write short fillers

How to make money writing about your hobbies

How to become a freelance article writer

How to write a query

How to avoid common pitfalls


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How to create believable characters

How to turn ideas into books

How to write creative fiction

How to find writing inspiration

How to avoid writers block

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