Tag Archives: writer’s advice

Keep your friends close and your editors closer

By Amanda Smyth Connor1285834_four_hands

Steady employment for those in the writing/editing industry appears to be going the way of the Dodo in the midst of today’s economic crisis. You may find that one day you are happily emailing your favorite editor and the next day, they’re gone and you’re suddenly working with a new editor – or worse, you can’t figure out who to contact at all.

Crap. Now you have to start the relationship from ground zero and work your way back up with a new editor.

The good news is that, as an editor, every time I have left a job, I have taken all of my favorite writer’s contact info with me. The first thing I do upon taking a new job is to begin reaching out to my existing arsenal of writers. It looks good for me, professionally speaking, to bring these existing relationships with me and it works out well for my writers when I am once again in a position to begin hiring them for new projects.

Editors and writers have a delightfully symbiotic relationship. They need you as much as you need them, so don’t ever believe for one second that you are entirely at their mercy. And because of this shared need to maintain relationships despite unsteady employment, I make it a point to update my LinkedIn as often as possible and to keep my writers up to date on any career changes I undergo, whether it is taking on a new position with my existing company or whether I move to an entirely different company.

Employment opportunities are, as they say, not about what you know as much as who you know, and you never know when you will be in a position to help a friend secure a new position. My advice to you is to keep networking, maintain your relationships and keep that contact list up to date.

Oh *Expletive* – Great Moments in Regret

By Amanda Smyth Connor

I always get nervous when new interns start. I want them to like me and respect me and the resulting fear that they will776852_hidden hate me turns me into a babbling idiot every time I am around them for the first few days.

My newest intern started yesterday. While I was training him, my mouth began to produce more saliva than any human seemed capable of producing, thus leading to my spitting on him several times during the course of our conversation. We both did our best to pretend not to notice. I continued to stammer my way toward an awkward conclusion to this training session, when my nose began to tickle. I innocently used my index finger to rub the tip of my nose and, no lie, a huge booger fell out – right onto my lap – where it proudly lived until I could regroup from the mental spasms I was having long enough to excuse myself in order to make a run for the bathroom to hide. The look of horror on my intern’s face will forever remain seared into my brain.

I spent the next 20-minutes in the bathroom wondering “if I just went home now and didn’t return to work, would they notice?”

Well, yes. In a company of five people, they might notice if 20% of their workforce went home and hid under her bed.


I regrouped, went back to my desk, acting as though everything was completely fine. I opened my inbox to catch up on the latest only to find an email from a writer asking for an extension on a project. To preface this, this is a new writer who I have only worked with once before and have not yet formed a solid relationship with.

And because I was feeling demoralized in the aftermath of Boogergate, I proceeded to verbally tear this writer apart in an effort to quell the embarrassment I was feeling. Was this act completely unjustified and thoroughly uncalled for? Yes. Did I hit the send button harder than I needed to? Quite. Continue reading Oh *Expletive* – Great Moments in Regret

Confessions of a Lazy Editor, part 1

by Amanda Smyth

No promises on part 2. 912288_lions_in_a_tree

I’ll be the first to admit it. I am a lazy editor.

I DO enjoy reading the work my freelancers submit. Some days, my job is the best job in the world. I can kick back and read great articles from great writers on a variety of topics. I learn new and wonderful things from their articles and I bask in the warm glow of their musings. So what makes me a lazy editor? Well, the part that’s the most grueling is the actual editing.

And frankly, I’d rather just skim.

Audience: “WHAT? THE HORROR! But you’re an EDITOR! Don’t you love dissecting, cutting, pasting and mutilating our work?”

Me: “Not really. I’d much rather put my feet up and surf the interweb for funny pictures of cats.”

*Audience lights torches Continue reading Confessions of a Lazy Editor, part 1

Confessions of an Editor: The Background Check

Let’s talk about stuff you can’t take back. Like tarting up your writer’s resume to make yourself look a bit more accomplished than you are. Or scaring potential paying clients away by a few ill-advised moves you think are harmless.

I won’t presume to speak for all editors, I’ll just speak for ME. As an editor, especially one who only just recently put out a call for writers, waded through the crap and hired multiple freelancers.

For me, there is a level of inexperience that I feel I can work with if a writer shows promise, or at least a willingness to learn. So at least in MY case, inexperience is not an automatic disqualifier. But what is?

Two things come immediately to mind. The first is when a freelancer comes to me with a resume full of clips designed to make them look like they have a lot of experience. Upon further investigation — about thirty seconds worth — I discover the resume is full of “pay per click” writing and stuff written for free. In fact, the sum total of the resume is this sort of thing.

This is pretty heinous–the mark of a rank amateur with no experience in the business whatsoever. Even so, as wretched as it is, believe it or not I am STILL willing to give this person a chance for another thirty seconds. Sadly for most in this boat, that thirty seconds comes and goes without me doing anything but deleting the resume and the e-mail.

Why? Continue reading Confessions of an Editor: The Background Check

Confessions of an Editor, Part One

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? Continue reading Confessions of an Editor, Part One

Not Getting Paid? Five Tips For Resolution

Freelancers are always running into little problems…shifting deadlines, clients who don’t know what the hell they really want, and the worst one of all–the publisher who won’t pay for some reason. Handling this situation calls for a tactful blend of psyhological warfare and extreme tact, but you can win if you play your cards properly. In a recent dispute with an editor over payment, I used the following five tactics for successful resolution of the problem. I’m happy to report that I did get paid, I’m still writing for the publication, and everyone seems happy. Here’s what I did:

Continue reading Not Getting Paid? Five Tips For Resolution