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    Why the Editor is Not the Enemy

    They can be mean, unethical and downright unprofessional. But not all editors fit that bill. In fact, most editors would rather give you money that take it, make no changes than rewrite whole pieces two hours before deadline, and accept every piece of crap than start their mornings sending out rejection slips. But step into an editor's shoes, and you'll know why that's not only hard, it's just plain impossible!

    Here are the most common complaints writers have, and why editors aren't always guilty of them.

    Completely Changing Your Work

    An editor I frequently work with was in distress. One of her regulars had just written to complain about his perfectly brilliant beginning being chopped off. "They sometimes don't get our style," she told me over lunch. "We need more quotes, we put them in. We need a stronger beginning; we change it. There's nothing much I can do about it. It's the way we work." But while this editor was very forthcoming about her reasons, and gave the writer an explanation, you'll usually get no further correspondence. That doesn't mean that they don't understand the anguish you go through. But they've got word limits, voice and style limitations, and a dozen other factors to keep in mind. And they simply don't have the time to offer explanations to each writer.


    Paying Less or Not Paying At All

    Most writers believe (or are led to believe) that editors just don't want to dish out the cash. Sure, if they're running a small business from home and can hardly pay their bills, they probably won't. But editors in big offices don't really care whether you earn $100 or $1,000. After all, they're not the ones paying from their pockets!

    I was in a publisher-editor meeting the other day, and one common concern was raised-- why weren't suppliers (including freelancers) paid on time? A complaint unanimously raised by... editors!

    An important thing to remember is that while it may appear so to us, editors aren't really the ones calling the shots all the time. That's the publisher's job. So hating the editor's guts won't get you anywhere. While some editors may be creeps, most of them are on your side! So, if you want more money, just ask for it. Chances are the editor is the only one who can help you get it.


    Not Responding

    They'd love to, you know. But there's only so much they can do. And while each e-mail you send will determine where your next paycheck comes from, an editor will get paid regardless of the number of queries rejected. Their job is putting together quality content. No one's going to promote them for being nice to freelancers. It's a simple matter of priorities. And when the choice is between finishing up the issue and answering yet another freelancer's query, get real-- the editor will finish up and go home.


    Killing Articles

    We tossed a coin. The losing editor would have to tell the freelance writer that his article had been killed. That, too, after we asked him to send us a dozen writing samples, come up with a dozen off-beat ideas, get a feel of our style, and send us a 600-word piece. We'd even negotiated the price. It would have taken him at least a day's work, if not more. We felt cruel, but decided that the guy had potential for future assignments.

    I lost the toss and sat down to draft the e-mail. I explained at length how our policies had changed, told him that we'd be willing to give more assignments, and even added a touch of humor. But the writer was obviously blinded. He thought of me as the devil. And by doing so, he'd just lost a perfectly good opportunity for more assignments.

    Editors aren't out to take advantage of freelancers or make their lives miserable. In fact, if you get to know them a little, you'll find that they're often a very friendly bunch. Stop looking at your editor as the enemy, and you might just find a friend.

    Copyright © 2005 Mridu Khullar

    Mridu Khullar is the Editor-in-Chief of WritersCrossing, a website for freelance writers. She is a full-time writer with hundreds of national and international credits, recently including Writer's Digest, Byline, Freelance Market News, Wedding Dresses, Yahoo!, College Bound, Senior Connection and Woman This Month. She is also a contributor to the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul series and the author of "Knock Their Socks Off! A Freelance Writer's Guide to Query Letters that Sell," available at http://www.writerscrossing.com/queries.html

    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 Amazon.com 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.)

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