How to Annoy an Editor in 10 Easy Steps – Or Less!

Editors hope that writers sending in queries are at the minimum aware of the basic protocol required. Sometimes, our hopes are dashed. The following ten guidelines are the ones most likely to increase your chances of never seeing your book in print.

1. Don’t make it easy for editors to contact you. Only include your information on the return envelope – if you bother to include it all, then cross your fingers that the envelope doesn’t get separated from the work. This of course implies that you must not put your name or contact information on any of your material. If they really want to publish your work, they will hire a private investigator and track you down.

2. Don’t include a return envelope (commonly known as the SASE – Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope) If you do include it, either don’t include enough postage or don’t bother with postage at all, or leave your name off the envelope – simply assume they’ll get it off the envelope you used to send your material, if you included it, that is; or hope that their P.I. is very good at what he or she does.

3. Assume the editor had absolutely nothing to do until your manuscript arrived on his or her desk, and should reply to your query within a week or two, maybe already days. Better however, phone or email one to two weeks after sending in your manuscript and ask if they’ll be publishing your book.

4. Send your manuscript to any publishing house you like. Mail the query for your romance story to a sci-fi/fantasy publisher, or your fictional work to an academic publishing company. Don’t waste your time researching the companies most likely to have an interest in your work.

5. Tell Dear Editor (since you don’t know his or her name) that they would be crazy to pass up this golden opportunity. Name several best selling authors and tell the editor how you are superior to all of them.

6. State clearly and often that you’ve never written before and you whipped this one up in three days, yes, believe it – three days! Also mention (jokingly) that your dog loved it, and (seriously) that pretty much everyone in your family loved it – though your meaningful other broke up with you since it does include a pretty detailed account of his or her greatest flaws, and your S.O. just can’t confront the truth.

7. Don’t let on what your sample enclosures are: be very careful not mention the title of the work, the genre, the intended audience, the information count or any other pertinent information. See if they can guess! Or make it already easier for them to guess correctly by sending the complete manuscript instead of just a little bitty sample.

8. Upon receiving a rejection from the editor, write a letter or an email and tell the editor how wrong he or she is and that you can do better than their lousy publishing house anyway. Be sure to mention that they have no clue what good writing is, call the editor names for additional punch, and blatantly avoid any reference to your thinking them worth sending a query to in the first place.

9. Write a letter or email letting the editor know that you don’t care if they said no, because another publisher said yes – and ask if they’ll give you some editing advice anyway, for future reference.

10. If the editor is foolish enough to reply to the above letter, congratulating you on your recent success, and that no, editing advice won’t be forthcoming since it is now redundant, promptly write a letter telling the editor that their cruelty is unacceptable and that yes, it is in fact his or her obligation to help amateur writers become better writers. Insist that the editor’s allegiance to getting the current project to the printer’s on schedule is not nearly as important as their real role as free-of-charge writing instructors.

If you’d rather not annoy your editor, the opposite behavior will definitely be welcome, and condenses into an already shorter list of “do’s”:

1. Include all information. Direct your query to a particular person at the publishing house – preferably the editor, though the mail clerk would be flattered to know you cared enough to get his opinion first. In your query, include your contact information in addition as all pertinent information: genre, title, information count, hypothesizedv audience, and what attachments you are including as per their guidelines – and send those attachments.

2. Include a SASE. If you want the complete ms returned, be sure you’ve included sufficient postage. Better however, send disposable copies and a letter-sized envelope for the reply.

3. keep specialized. By all method, show enthusiasm, but don’t let it give you a puppy-like persona. This comes with subcategories:

3.a. Don’t pester. Assume editors are busy working on current books, and will reply within the time-frame stated in the submission guidelines. They will likewise work as diligently on your book if accepted. (Include the date on your cover letter so your ms doesn’t become the foundation of the slush pile.)

3.b. Promote your work. If you have past writing credits, include them. If not, then promote the work you’re sending. Leave the part about your pets and friends for the conversation when your editor calls or writes to accept your ms, then feel free to gush all you like – you’re in.

3.c. Accept rejection gracefully. There is no need for further harmonies, already if you do feel vindicated in getting the last information. For one thing, the editor will be already more glad to have turned down your ms – divas can make what is typically a fun project into torture for everyone involved. For another, editors move around. That one you called a mindless, no-talent moron just might be the acquisitions editor at the next publishing house you approach.

The behavior of authors presented in the “Don’ts” list is fictitious and any resemblance to anyone living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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