We all joke about crazy editors and their goofball demands. Editors, for the most part, have a good chuckle too because they know some of their peers are pretty nutty. Here at FWJ we often reinforce a writer’s right to push back – professionally – against edits, cheer on as they ask for more work, better pay, etc., however sometimes a writer can take things too far. There are a few things you should never say to an editor, especially if you ever want to work with them again.
5. “You’re just a frustrated writer.”
It could be true, it really could be your editor doesn’t have it in them to formulate an article from scratch, but they have no qualms about taking your article and reworking most of it to fit their own voice. Saying so, however, is not only rude, it is also a baseless accusation. Not cool.
4. “So-in-so at (competition publication) would love this piece.”
“Perhaps they would, good luck with that *click*,” would be my response to a writer pulling that low brow threat out of their butt. There are ways to negotiate and there are ways to make an offer more appealing, a threat like this will land you and your piece in the permanent slush pile.
3. “I know what the readers want.”
No, the editors know what the readers want, you may have a pretty good idea which is why your pitching your query, but ultimately the editor has a better understanding than you. No one wants to hear you are better at their job than they are it is never a good way to make waves.
2. “I was so sick it was coming out of both ends, it looked like…”
TMI or too much information is an epidemic in this share all, instant message, Facebook society and too many writers damage their professional relationships by rushing into a awkward, often one-sided relationship with editors. If we only talk via email about queries and payments, I don’t want to suddenly become your best friend and become privy to your non-work related exploits. Yelk!
1. “I’m going to miss my deadline.”
This deadend line will quickly turn you into the ‘not go-to-writer.’ Missing a deadline is serious business. Do writers miss deadlines? Yep. Do they have to tell their editor? Yep. Should you do everything absolutely possible to make sure it never happens to you? Absolutely.
There’s this thing called ‘burning bridges’ and people are always advised against doing so. I tend to agree, the writing community is small and rude or outrageous writers are likely to earn a reputation that matches their unprofessional behavior.
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