James Duncan’s blog post Dear Editor, Dear Writer, PLEASE STOP! should be required reading for every writer sending out works for publication, for every publication accepting and rejecting writing, for every teacher, every student – cripes! JUST EVERYBODY PLEASE READ THIS!
A well-published author himself as well as an editor, Duncan has learned the intimacy of the good, the bad, and the ugly of the relationship between editors and writers – either having experienced it himself or having heard about it from others. His insight goes well beyond the response times and cover letter content. Such issues as editors giving rude rejections and (“on the flip side” for each topic) writers responding rudely to rejection, extraneous e-mails from both editors and writers, complicated guidelines and writers not following guidelines, closing submissions and over submitting, and many more such issues.
I’ve already had a side conversation with Duncan about one of his issues here, and we agree, there are some tough lines to walk in our business of writing and publishing. It would seem much of his advice is common sense and common courtesy. But it’s not that easy when new writers are trying to learn the publishing arena, and new editors likewise – or even established writers and editors wondering what they’re “doing wrong” or how to improve their professionalism. For all these reasons and more, Duncan’s essay should be the go-to guidelines for all writers and editors.