It’s true–I’ve been pulled back into the dark side. I’m currently doing editor duties for as as-of-yet unannounced online publication/e-commerce site, basically setting up the editorial department from SCRATCH. What does that mean? For starters, I had to create all the company’s documents and policies for the editorial side—everything from freelance writing terms and conditions and training manuals all the way to “about this website”.
Then there’s the part I truly love about creating new websites—hiring new writers. I enjoy this process so much I forget to pee. Ahh, sarcasm. It just doesn’t work in print when you write it straight. I SHOULD have put down that I tuh-ruhhhhly loooo-huh-huh-hoooove hiring new writers. That would have conveyed my utter disgust with the whole process.
The thing I hate most about hiring new writers is the deluge of wildly inappropriate responses from the online “help wanted” ad. I figure this must be my karma, since I have fired off too many blind queries in my day–utterly wasting some poor editor’s time with poorly researched pitches to magazines that couldn’t care less. Yes, it is clear that I’m being punished for NOT reading at least two issues of a magazine before querying in the early days of my career.
What kind of punishment, you ask?
In my “writers wanted” ad, I wrote in big block letters for people to send all material–resume, clips, links–IN THE BODY OF THE E-MAIL. No attachments. What did half of my responses do? You guessed it.
The first one, I did not automatically delete. I sent back a two line reply instead requesting a resend. The subsequent e-mails with attachments, I just deleted without even looking. In the early days of my career upon hearing of such behavior, I would have jumped on my chair and declared with great passion and volume that any editor caught doing this should be horsewhipped. With a real horse.
Now, of course, I get it. Having sat in the editor’s chair more than once I can tell you there is NOTHING more smirk inducing than an eager writer who can’t follow directions. Especially directions written in big BLOCK LETTERS. There should be an afterlife just for these people involving a bucket of ice cubes, a mallet, and a rabid ferret.
Did I mention that more than half of the replies neglected to do the other things instructed in the ad? There is a SPECIAL PLACE IN HELL for people like this. One person sent me a resume with a section labeled “xperience”. Delete, delete, delete.
I can’t say how long I will be in this contract editorship. I might just lose my damn mind before I get a staff hired and chop up my computer with an axe. Keep watching this space, folks. I fully intend to keep a running diary of my misadventures as a contract editor. Want to learn what life is like on the other side of the desk at a brand new website? Keep reading. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.