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    Home Columns

    Editors - Not Your Enemy After All

    It's really easy to think of editors as the bad guy when they are the ones who reject your work. Considering we are both editors, the first thing we want to tell you is that editors are not mean people. You will receive rejections from editors many times during your writing career, but you should never take them personally. Most often, they only reject your story because it needs improvement, it might be too long, or they might not use that type of writing.

    Let's break this down:

    Errors, Mistakes and What In the World Does That Say?

    Just because you are a young writer, that doesn't mean you can't come across as a professional writer by submitting error-free work. Even the most skilled writer makes mistakes, but when an editor receives a submission with errors all the way through, most often they don't have the time to fix all of the problems. Sometimes you'll receive a rejection that explains this, but most often, you will get the form rejection that leads you to figure it out on your own.

    A mistake here and there is certainly forgivable, but try your best not to submit your work until you are really, really sure you've checked and double-checked it for all errors. Though an editor's job may be to EDIT, none have time to fix whole articles and stories when the writers didn't care enough to take the time to edit it themselves. If an editor can't read your work due to several mistakes, they won't bother to read it at all. Your submission may be fantastic, but many editors will never read the whole thing to know that. Don't mess up your chances of a complete read-through.

    What Are Guidelines?

    Before you get ready to send your work to an editor, do you always check to make sure you are following their guidelines? If not, you may be wasting time and money. Suppose you wrote a 2000 word short story about frogs and sent it to the first publication your finger landed on in the market guide. You read that it says their word limit is 1500 words and they really have too many stories about frogs. What do you do?

    A) Send it anyway. What are 500 extra words anyway? Besides, they've never seen a frog story like yours before!

    B) Move on and look for a market that accepts stories of 2000 words or more, plus likes frog (or animal) stories.

    Hopefully you chose B, because if you decide to send your story anyway following the thought of choice A, you are only asking for a Big Fast Rejection. Editors spend time creating and writing guidelines so that writers know what to send. If you are looking to have an editor not want to read your work - ever - ignore their guidelines. Surprisingly, many writers will repeatedly submit the wrong material to the same editor. One time is understandable to a degree, but to do it more than that will keep you locked out of that publication.

    Why not take a few extra minutes to read the guidelines thoroughly before submitting. Rather than getting on the bad side of an overworked editor, you could be on your way to publication with the right editor.

    Not Right For Us

    This may go hand-in-hand with the guidelines issue, but it also stands on its own. I can't tell you how many times we receive submissions that we can in no way consider for our publication. Add those on top of all of the other submissions we receive and you can see why any editor would get a little upset by receiving over and over the wrong type of submission. Sure, the word limit has been met, the spelling and grammar looks great, but the boy's magazine is just NOT going to want the story about two little girls who don't like boys.

    Likewise, a publication that only accepts short stories is only going to scratch their head in wonder when you send them an article. Yes, you did a great job with the article, but the publication NEVER publishes articles. Rejection - and it wasn't even because you did anything wrong writing-wise.

    No one can afford to buy samples of every publication they want to write for, but these days, your chances of finding a web site with sample articles are pretty good. Many magazines have very nicely drawn-out guidelines and samples, and even tips from the editors to help you better understand what to submit. So take the time to find them and visit.

    No One Likes Rejection

    No matter what your age, rejection still stings. The most famous of writers still feel the burn when they are rejected. But you can turn it around. An editor's job is to accept and edit work for their publications. If the first try with them doesn't make it, try again. Sure, you might see a few more rejections by the same editor, but they will also see how hard you are trying to make it and might surprise you with a personal letter or even an assignment. Take a personal remark very seriously. If the editor scratches out a note that tells you to keep trying, by golly, you keep trying. That's an invitation to give it one more go. And if they tell you what kind of article/story they would like you to send, do it. Don't let them down when they give you a chance. You could go on to have a wonderfully long relationship with them.

    Editors are people, too. Many times, they are also writers, like we are. I don't know of any editor who enjoys handing out rejections. And there certainly can't be any writers who like to get them. Start now to learn what editors like and you'll be on the path to successfully impressing them.


    • Check and double-check your work for all spelling and grammar errors before submitting.

    • Follow the guidelines. They are there for a reason.

    • Seek out samples of each publication on the Web to be sure you are sending the right thing.

    • Keep your chin up and keep writing!

      Copyright © 2001 Angela Giles Klocke and Scott D. Warren

      Scott is Angela's teenage son. He has won several various writing awards. He maintains a straight-A average and when not doing schoolwork, he can be found with either a book or his AlphaSmart. Scott constantly dreams up new stories and shares them with his family as well as seeks publication. He has been published in Rainy Day Corner as well as a newspaper in Florida, The Williston Pioneer.

      Angela has been writing since she was a child herself. Her passion for helping other young writers is what has led her to co-authoring this column with her own young writer, Scott. One of Angela's earliest works, a poem, was finally published when she was 18, though it was written at age 11.

      The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ

      WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! Kick start your imagination, ignite your creativity, and begin your journey towards becoming an outstanding writer.

      Grab a copy of WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! from and receive 2 free e-books to encourage and nurture the writer in you. You'll also receive Write Memories, a journaling workbook available for free only to WEEKLY WRITES book owners. And finally, as a WEEKLY WRITES book owner, you'll have free access to e-mail courses such as JOYFUL WRITES: Celebrate Your Life through Writing

      For excerpts, reviews and what you need to do to receive the 2 free e-books, Write Memories and sign up for free e-mail courses, just head on to the Weekly Writes Book Official Site. (Clicking on the link will open a new window.)


    The Journaling Life: 21 Types of Journals You Can Create to Express Yourself and Record Pieces of Your Life

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between

    Journaling Kit - Four Journaling Books to help you put your life and memories on paper


    The Web
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    Celebrate Your Life through Writing

    Creative Nurturing of the Writer Within

    6 Approaches to Journaling

    21 Ways to Jumpstart Your Muse

    Imagery in Writing


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    The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publishers Won't by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

    WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! by Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

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