Editors and editorial assistants hold a lot of power. They have the power to say yes to your query or they can stab your carefully crafted piece in the heart with a kill fee. This power can sometimes have the ability to corrupt even the nicest, most well-behaved editor, but what can a lowly writer do when faced with an editor whose behavior rivals a 5 year old’s?
First of all, stop thinking of yourself as lowly. Writers are an essential part of a magazine/publication/web site. The editors and editorial assistants can’t write the entire publication on their own and need writers to help come up with ideas and obviously, write pieces.
Next, try to define the behavior. Is the editor really bad at communicating in a quick and clear way? They may be busy and distracted which could explain why your email query or question hasn’t been answered. A quick and polite email saying, “Hey, I know you’re busy. I just wanted to check to see if you received my email, etc,” might help out the situation.
If it’s more serious – rude behavior, demeaning behavior or just plain old nastiness, then you need to decide if it’s something you can put up with or not. Honestly, sometimes you have to cut a publication loose. It takes a lot of gump sometimes to say enough, but when trouble is outpacing the paycheck….
I write a lot here about what writers can do to become more professional, how they can make themselves indispensable to editors, but I would be remiss in not talking about times when there’s really nothing you can do with someone who is on a power trip.
Late pays, no pays, a billion rewrites, dismissive or rude comments…it all happens and the best thing you can do is remain professional and make a break for the hills.
So now it’s your turn – dish! What’s your favorite story of bad editor behavior?