With the National Novel Writing Month fast approaching, I'm willing to bet that many of our readers are gearing up to silence the editor and write, write, write.
Which poses a bit of a headscratcher for a blog about editing by editors.
I've posted a poll on the sidebar asking if you're planning to participate in NaNo this year. If a big enough portion of you are NaNoing, we might shift focus in November and look at some techniques for greater productivity. Otherwise, we'll carry on with our usual quibbles and random musings.
So please, if you usually read this on a feed reader, pop over to the blog and vote in the poll.
Speaking of Random Musings....
I'm contemplating restructuring our internal process for responding to submissions. As it stands, we have a first reader who mans (er, womans) the inbox. She reads everything and either sends out a form rejection or routes the manuscript to an editor interested in that type of manuscript. If she sends out a form rejection, the reply address is the submissions inbox address. If she routes it to an editor and the editor rejects it, the rejection comes from the editor.
And therein lies the problem. We've had some problems with folks who don't take kindly to being rejected, and who lash out against the rejecting editor. And because of our process, they have a direct address for that editor. I understand it's disappointing to get rejected. Really, I do. But allowing that disappointment to interfere with normal professional behavior is another issue altogether.
So as I sit here pondering whether to change our internal procedures to protect my editorial team from rejection backlash, I thought I would mention it to all of you -- and honestly, this feels a bit like preaching to the choir because I know how upbeat and professional our readers are. But this is a real problem on my side of the desk. We don't like getting yelled at any more than you like getting rejected. But the difference is that our rejection isn't personal, and frequently, the attacks we endure are entirely personal. We get called names. Nasty names.
None of you would ever do that, of course. But for the love of literature, if one of your writing buddies says they're going to pen an angry reply to a rejection, gently suggest that they ought to wait a month and then reconsider. Or a year. Or forever.
Because, honestly, the penalty for angry backlash isn't that the editor suffers. We don't. The penalty is that the writer burns a bridge, and the editor becomes ever more wary of interacting with unknown writers. You know, most of us like writers. Most of us want to talk to writers and hear about your projects, ideas, interests and lives. But we also know that a turtle is safer inside its shell, yanno?