Monday, September 26, 2011

Two-Way Street?

Editors are always going on and on about professionalism and how the slightest misstep during the submission process can result in an unread, discarded manuscript. Some are so particular that the style employed in a cover letter can be the death knell for hopeful authors looking to wow an editor with their stunning prose. In other words, the editor might not even read your work based solely on the way you introduced yourself.

One of the major pet peeves of editors, and understandably so, involves writers with poor attention to detail. For instance, mentioning that it's midnight in one sentence and then describing the hot sun beating down on the pavement in the next. That pet peeve extends into the writer's correspondence, i.e. making sure the correct names are used when establishing contact.

Shouldn't that extend both ways? In fact, shouldn't it be more important for an editor to ensure accuracy before sending a rejection letter?

I only bring this up because, much like for the editor who disregards the story of a writer whose attention to detail is lacking, it's difficult to take seriously the critique and rejection from an editor who misses simple, vital detail.

Case in point: The email correspondence below:

EDITOR: Mr. Murphy,
I have decided to pass on this story. It's hard to find any empathy for the main character on his killing spree, and it's probably something that would fare better in the third person. It goes for the jugular just a bit much and too fast, and I think the pacing of it needs work. Feel free to try another submission, but this one just didn't grab me.
Sincerely,
Editor

ME: It is actually "Mr. Nadeau." Murphy is the last name of the protagonist in my story. I appreciate the feedback.

CN

EDITOR:
Chris,
So sorry, was looking up at the Document name,.....that's a first! Sorry if that seemed rude!
Editor

ME: Not at all. Just wanted to clarify in case the next story knocks your editorial socks off :)


But it turned out well, because when it comes down to it, professionalism is the key.

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