8 Ways to Annoy an Editor


I’ve worked ten years as a magazine editor. For your entertainment, here is a list of ways you can absolutely annoy the snot out of any editor.

Don’t include your name or address with your submissions.

Since editors rely on that information to track, pay, and make sure their writers receive a copy of the publication, an easy way to annoy them is to make them look up this information… if they even have it. Even better is if they have to use a different database to locate you, and must write all the information by hand on their hard copy!!

Don’t include a cover letter of any sort.

What editors hate most of all is being thought of as a robot on the other side of the screen, so send them a blank e-mail with an attachment! No friendly greeting, no niceties, just a blank e-mail. Even better is if you also don’t include your address on this submission. Double-whammy!

Ignore the writer’s guidelines.

Guidelines are for simpletons, not first-class writers like yourself. Ignore them. Publications are really just here to send you checks anyway.

Harass them.

Editors need knocked down a peg. If they refuse to print something, argue with them.

Address your query to the wrong person.

Send it to “The Editor,” but put the Publisher’s name on it. Continue to do so even if you know the editor, and she is the one who responds to all your queries.

Don’t listen to anything she says.

This is one of the best ways to annoy an editor. If she turns one of your stories down for a particular reason that is fixable, make sure you don’t fix it on the next manuscript you send her. This shows her who is boss of your writing – and it isn’t her!

Don’t proofread your work.

Every editor likes to feel important, and as if they are earning their paycheck, so make sure to leave at least a couple of typos and/or uses of the wrong word in your manuscript. If possible, misspell something in your query letter, like their last name.

Include the editor in your forwards/junk mail list.

Even though her inbox is usually overflowing, she always needs one more “end times” e-mail, cute puppies forward, or invitation from Link-Whatever, Facebook, and all your other social networking websites. Make sure everyone has her e-mail address!

There you have it. Now, go forth and annoy your editor!

7 thoughts on “8 Ways to Annoy an Editor

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  1. Oh I really like this–I might print it out and favorite it too, like I did with your post on rejections 🙂 ! Reading at the beginning my initial thoughts were “But surely nobody’s that dumb, enough to…OK nevermind :P”

    It reminded me a bit of this page on TVTropes. I get that we’re all human so errors are inevitable, especially for those new to submitting their work–but–with some people, they don’t seem to even be trying.

    Editors need knocked down a peg. If they refuse to print something, argue with them.

    I sometimes catch myself wondering about this whenever I stumble across extremely sub-par novels. (Like the one where an 8 months pregnant girl dons male garb to fight in battle * head desk*). After all, this presumably got past several editors, and bigwigs at a major publishing house. It’s in their interest to publish only the best of the best.

    Which makes me wonder if these novels really are “the best” among the manuscripts floating out there, or if there are a lot of other novels being unfairly discounted for some reason.

    1. I read on tumblr how this girl got so excited that she was writing on a novel, she queried it before she was even finished. If you do even the most BASIC homework, you’ll know this is a major no-no for fiction! Getting published is hard at the best of times, much less without a final word count, without any polishing, without external input, and without a REASON to take up an agent’s time.

      The instances in which writers have argued with me are legend. Their names are pinned above my desk, as a reminder for me to accept less of their material. Behavior like that has consequences.

      Don’t know, but I’ve read a lot of bloated YA books lately full of needless exposition and repeated information. Do they think we’re so simple minded we forget a conversation five pages ago, or that we need everything explained because we’re too stupid to figure it out for ourselves when we just saw it happen?

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