Rules for Not Making Editors Hate You
- Never show up in person at a publishing company. Ever. Not unless a real person (and not an imaginary person in your head) has specifically made a date with you and asked you to come in for a meeting.
- Don’t call on the phone. Ever. Two reasons: 1) The phone is bad for us, because we can’t choose the timing. If you email us, we can address your issue thoughtfully and when we have time to. Plus the phone is super awkward–I always feel backed up against the wall when someone I’m not expecting to talk to is on the phone. 2) The phone is bad for you. If you get us on the phone and ask for the status and we didn’t like it, we’re going to have to reject it right there, on the phone with you. Also, maybe we were thinking “maybe” about your project, but now, since you’ve forced us to talk to you on the phone, we’re suddenly thinking “no.” Just. Don’t. Call.
- Do you have an agent? Then never, ever be personally in touch with me. The I start to feel double teamed, and on top of that, I begin to question the relationship you have with your agent. The only time I should have any contact with an agented author before a contract is signed is AFTER I tell the agent I like the project and the agent and I arrange a mutually agreeable meeting or phone call. The author should never be involved in this.
- Know what I acquire. If you send me your manuscript and it has nothing to do with what I edit, why should I do you the courtesy of wasting my very precious free time responding to you? Seriously. There are literally thousands of hard-working people who want to get published and have done the footwork. You are not special. You wanna get published, you do it too.
- Do not harass my assistant. Ever. Her job is very hard. I’ve been there, honey. Just because she’s as smart and savvy as she is does not mean she should have to deal with you and your mental issues.
- Do not follow up the next day. Do not follow up the next week. You may follow up one month after you’ve submitted, but do so politely and in as unoffensive a way as possible. I’m softer toward the “I just wanted to make sure all my materials were in order and to see if there was any other information you might need” approach. The “Why haven’t you looked at my manuscript yet? It’s been over a month” approach? Yeah, not a favorite of mine, actually.
- Do not leave me lengthy voicemails (although I suppose if you’re calling at all I should just direct you back to #2). I just delete them without listening.
Be sure to check out the Editorial Ass post for a humorous/scary story on how not to behave.
Writing on the Sidewalk