November 24, 2008

This Is A Job, People

If you were trying to get a new job, would you misspell the name of the person who'd be doing the hiring on your cover letter?

Would you make sure that you address that letter to the right person, and not accidentally mix your letter for that company up with the letter meant for another company?

Would you, upon being denied the job, give the manager attitude, sarcasm, or rudeness?

Well this is some of the wonderful stuff I've been dealing with as of late. I think writers, more so the green variety, tend to forget that submitting their work to a publication is no different than applying for a job. A temporary job, most likely, but a job nonetheless.

Misspelling the editor's name shows that you don't pay attention to detail. It shows you didn't care enough to spell his/her name correctly. It shows laziness and disrespect. Editors are busy people who are endlessly receiving submissions: it is unlikely that an editor will choose your submission over those writers who actually cared enough to spell his/her name right.

Even worse, I recently received a submission addressed to someone whom I've never even heard of, let alone has affiliation with my publication. I didn't bother reading the contents after I saw that, it immediately went into the trash. If you don't have time to find out who you're sending something to, than I certainly don't have time to read your work.

Okay, so the editor has read your work and has decided, for one reason or another, that it's not what they're looking for... DO NOT ARGUE WITH THEM!

Do you think that arguing or giving attitude will further your career in the least? The only thing you can expect with that kind of professionalism is a lot more rejection letters.

Even if you never have anything to do with that particular publication again, you can be sure that your behavior will come back to haunt you. We don't live in a vacuum - word spreads and you could find yourself being avoided by those people you most want to reach to further your career.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, an editor doesn’t have the time to go through and fix a piece that is riddled with errors. A few errors are forgivable, but other than that, it usually isn’t worth the editor’s time to bother. It shows you didn’t care enough to do your own editing and proofreading. If you don’t care, why should we?

But if an editor actually took the time to read your work and has let you know what you need to do to make the piece work, count yourself lucky and get right on it!

I'm writing this because I needed to rant. Most importantly, I'm writing this as a helpful hint to my fellow wordsmiths.

Of course, ignore this completely if you don’t want a successful writing career ;)


-Love Marylin.

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