Thursday, March 10, 2016

Are Editors Scary Folks?

Have you ever been afraid to contact an editor with a problem? One of the women in my online writers' group lives in Japan and is now on a trip to Nepal with her husband. While there, she received good news from a Chicken Soup for the Soul editor. Her submission had made it to the final round. The Permission Release agreement was attached to the email message which instructed her to fill out and sign and return.

She was thrilled her story had made it to the final round but dismayed that she was in a place where she had no access to a printer to complete the instructions regarding the Permission Release. She feared her story might be dumped if she could not respond in the correct way. So, she turned to the group members for help.

I (and others) assured her that if she emailed the editor and explained the situation, there should be no problem. She followed our advice and the editor contacted her saying it was fine, just send it when you return to Japan. Happy Ending. And, I also predict that her wonderful story for the Spirit of America book will make that final cut.

The situation brought to mind that lots of writers are afraid to contact an editor with questions or problems. Have no fear! The majority of editors are understanding people and they're happy to be of assistance if and when possible.  They're people just like you and me. They get up in the morning and have breakfast, maybe get kids off to school. They go to work, come home and do household tasks, maybe read or whatever relaxes them. Many have been writers or might still do some writing in free time. They do understand that writers have questions or run into snags of some sort. So, don't be afraid to contact them. (Unless they specifically asked you not to, but that would be a rare case)

That said, be sure you have a valid reason for contacting the editor. And do not bombard them with one email message after another.Don't try to make them your Best Friend of the Year. That's when you might get the message that you are to no longer contact them. Keep in mind that you are one of many writers they work with. They are ready to help if you have a legitimate concern but not for every little nitpicky thing.

Before you write to the editor, step back and see if you can find the answer yourself. If you cannot, then send the message. Keep in mind that they are ordinary people and part of their job is to help writers. They're not scary folks at all.

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