Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What To Do When Editors Hate You

Sending manuscripts, concepts and article pitches to editors and publishers is and always has been a difficult process for writers. Not because we are frail, creative flowers, trampled by the heels of an uncaring publishing world. Not completely, anyway.

Imagine this. You are standing in the shower, wrapped in steam and soap suds, when the idea of a LIFETIME strikes you down like lightning. Gasping and barely alive, you pick yourself up off the bathroom floor and stumble to the computer, where you concoct, with dripping fingers, an e-mail to an editor/publisher you might somehow or other know.

 In this e-mail, you summarize the concept of your idea, how it will be delivered, who the audience is, etc. and save the draft. 

Then you go get a cup of coffee, and return with your caffeinated beverage to begin the 3-hour editing slog it will take before you are sure your e-mail is perfect. 

Then you save it again, read it again, do a few more tweaks (mostly line spacing this time) and then, tight with anticipation and dizzy with legal stimulants, you click "send". 

Deep, deep down, you know that it may take days, weeks, months, before said editor replies to your expertly crafted e-mail. It doesn't stop you from checking your e-mail every 20 minutes for the first three days, and then 2 hourly for every day after that, though. You're not stupid. These things take time. 

But when it really does take weeks, and months, the fear and doubt creep in. 

Maybe you're idea is not that good. Maybe it sucks. Or maybe it is so good, that it has already been overdone. Did you do enough market research between the bathroom and the computer chair? Were you too hasty? Has the editor seen your portfolio and realized that you are completely ridiculous? 

Does the editor *gasp* hate you?  

I go through this all the time. Whenever an editor takes too long to get back to me, I become convinced that they hold nothing but contempt and avarice for me and my unworthy ideas. Sometimes they do get back to me with apologies over the long awaited reply, and other times, yeah, I never ever hear a reply. 

Recently I've not been blogging here much... mostly because I have actually been working hard on my "Green Writer Project" and trying to secure contracts and publishing agreements. So I have been working hard on the blog and project, just not blogging about it. You understand, don't you? Why of course you do. 

So far I have passed up at least 3 contracts to work as a ghost writer for little to no money for companies who wish for me to sell their products, I have pitched ideas to half a dozen local and overseas magazines, I have logged onto Elance and wiggled my butt for every editor and potential client I can find, and I have even written e-mails to a few newspapers (who I don't expect to hear from whatsoever) with some of my ideas. 

 It's all hard work and to pitch ideas and concepts to all of these people takes time, energy and heart. But I will stay strong. I believe in the cause, I have faith in the universe, and more importantly, I know I have achieved more difficult and more mountainous projects before. 

So here is my advice: yes, some editors might really hate and loathe you. They might resort to setting their laptops or iPads on fire before replying to your ideas and pitches. Somewhere out there at this very moment, an editor may be having some disquieted witch doctor create a voodoo doll, and fill its insides with the shredded and slightly charred remains of your letters. But just keep at it anyway. 

Success is more about tenacity than talent. 

While that editor is trying to figure out whether or not black magic will really work on someone like you, send pitches out to 10 more editors. Chances are, one of them will like you. Right?


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