Lazette Gifford
Publisher & Editor

Ten Ways to Annoy an Editor

By Suzan L. Wiener
Copyright © 2007 by Suzan L. Wiener, All Rights Reserved

I have found it is always a good idea not to annoy an editor. These ten tips, which I've learned from years of interaction with writer friends and editors, will  keep from annoying editors. Hopefully, these reminders will help you make a lot more sales.

l. How to annoy: Misspell the editor’s name.

The right thing to do: If you don’t have the editor’s name, look it up on the publication’s masthead. You can even call the magazine ask the operator for the spelling of the editor's name. (Don't ask to speak to the editor, though.) This will make you look professional, making it more likely that the editor will want to read your work.

2. How to annoy: Scribble addresses on your envelopes or use labels.

The right thing to do: If you cannot print legibly, type your envelope correctly, without stains and with the proper postage. If you can’t afford a computer, buy yourself a used typewriter, but make sure the ribbon is legible. It will be well worth your investment and may pay for itself with your acceptances.

3. How to annoy: Omit a cover letter.

The right thing to do: Even a short note will help your work stand out from the slush pile. You don’t have to go into graphic detail about your past credits. Just a line or two explaining why you are sending them your manuscript.

4. How to annoy: Submit without reading their guidelines or an issue of their publication.

The right thing to do: Make sure to always read the guidelines of the publication you want to submit to. This is extremely important and, unfortunately, something that too many writers forget to do.

5. How to annoy: Inquire many times to find out the status of one’s work.

The right thing to do: Only write (never call, unless invited to) if your manuscript is held after five months. Sometimes no news is good news. The longer they hold it, the more likely they might be considering it.

6. How to annoy: Send your manuscript out to several publications, when the one you want it to be published in says no simultaneous submissions.

The right thing to do: It is always right to send out your manuscript to only one place at a time. Of course, if the guidelines state it is alright with them, then feel free to send it out to as many publications as you wish.

7. How to annoy: Send out an article similar to one the publication has already published.   

The right thing to do: Submit an article that's within their guidelines, but unique.

8. How to annoy: Send out work at the wrong time; for example, a Halloween poem in September for their October issue.

The right thing to do: Check how much lead time he/she requires. Ask for their needs list beforehand. You will know how far ahead of schedule you need to submit your holiday manuscript. This will make a great impression, and you will be more likely to get an acceptance.

9. How to annoy: Keep no record of items you have sent out.

The right thing to do: Always keep a record of the items you send out. This way, you know what is being accepted and what isn’t. I keep a notebook and make two lines down the page. I head it for “Name of Magazine,” “Type of material” and “Date accepted or rejected.” It works well and I see just how many acceptances or rejections I have received.

10. How to annoy: Not sign a contract in a timely manner.

The right thing to do: Make sure to sign and send it back immediately. The editor will usually give you a copy for your records.

I found the above ten tips useful, and they will no doubt help you, too.