Tag Archives: confessions of an editor

Confessions of An Editor: I’m Watching You

freelance-writing-adviceReady for a shocker? Sometimes editors are so damn busy they can’t be bothered to fire useless  people right away. Instead, they use them for anything they can acutally be trusted to do until such time as it’s more convenient to let them go. We know it’s hard to find good people, so we’ll put a medicore slob into as much grunt work as possible to make our lives easier til we can get around to giving them a pink slip.

At one job, I had to keep dead weight around for MONTHS because my bosses were too slow to hire replacements. I had to look for a new body on the sly, line up my choices and tell them to hang in there for a little while.  When this company did hire replacements, they wanted practically the entire office to interview them.


“Guys, don’t run each and every person that Continue reading Confessions of An Editor: I’m Watching You

Confessions of An Editor: New Year, Same Old Pet Peeves

freelance-writing-adviceIt has been a very long time since I wrote a Confessions post, and since we’re in the first weeks of 2009, I figured it was high time.

As some of our loyal readers may already know, I’ve been an editor for quite some time, starting with my work as News Director at the Naval Media Center in Keflavik, Iceland. Since then I’ve edited everything from radio and TV scripts, press releases, articles, a whole forest of paper and a river of red ink. Today, my work editing Cheap Today.com doesn’t kill any trees, but some things remain the same no matter what you’re editing.

Including one of my all-time pet peeves; sacrificing accuracy for speed. CNN was guilty of this recently when reporting a military plane crash in California. The anchor or his script writers assumed that if it had wings and an engine, it must belong to the Air Force.  It’s an easy mistake to make, but one the CNN crew knows better than to make.

Another example I found recently hit my inbox courtesy of a writing group mailing list I signed up for once upon a time. I confess, I kind of like these mailing list groups…they give me plenty of fodder for posts like this.  Continue reading Confessions of An Editor: New Year, Same Old Pet Peeves

Confessions of an Editor: My Take on Associated Content

Looks like my last post stirred a little tempest in a teapot, so I thought I’d address the Associated Content issue from an editor’s perspective. It would be easy to assume from my last post that I don’t think you should ever use Associated Content. Quite the contrary.

Should you use Associated Content posts as writing samples? As evidence that you are a published writer? HELL NO. Not for any serious publication, anyway. Do you want to know the secret? What makes editors (not just me) turn their nose up at this?

Two words–editorial review.

As in, there isn’t much doing at Associated Content, and good editors know that. The simple fact is, posts on Associated Content have value to a writer, but not quite in the way most people assume when they start publishing there. Editors know that there’s no real motivation to edit someone’s posts on AC because they are NOT in the business of publishing in the same manner as Travel + Leisure, Poets and Writers, or Spin Magazine. Associated Content is a completely different business model, and doesn’t require the same kind of editorial rigor you’d get from somebody behind the desk at Fangoria or Scottish Life. Continue reading Confessions of an Editor: My Take on Associated Content

Confessions of an Editor: Schadenfruede

The German phrase schadenfruede means “pleasure taken from someone else’s misfortune.” I regularly indulge in this shameful practice by reading blogs like the sadly discontinued (but perpetually archived and available) Miss Snark.

What can I say? I enjoy reading about other people dealing with the same sort of nonsense I encounter…it makes me feel good to know that other writers, editors and publishers struggle with me. Lit Agent X provides one of the best I’ve read this week. In the post “Query Oops”, she discusses the bonehead blunders she gets in her query letters. People asking her to “bare with me”, discussing “cereal killers” without a trace of irony, and my all-time fave, the guy who enclosed a “synapses” of his novel.

To be fair, I am willing to bet that the “synapses” guy was a victim of his spell checker. But I don’t care. Its grounds for round-filing, if you ask me. Then again, I am guilty of my own moronic blunders, which are usually the result of hitting “Send” far too eagerly. The three things I have learned in my stint as a writer and editor:

1. Never submit while hungover.

2. Never submit before coffee.

3. Never submit before breakfast.

If you can heed these three very related warnings, chances are you will go much farther than I. One day, you’ll be sitting in a high-rise office building in Manhattan and you’ll be round-filing MY correspondence. And laughing.

Oh–and before you ask: there isn’t a writer worth a damn who doesn’t go overboard on the food, alcohol, smokes or other bad-for-you things. It’s just the way we’re wired. I insist on the no hungover submissions rule with this in mind. You can pickle your innards as much as you like when the day’s work is done, but don’t you dare let morning -after sludge brain screw you out of a paying gig.