Like the title, I can't say it enough. An editor's job is never easy. As a editor, I spend on average 6-8 ours hper day reading stories, offering fair and honest critiques of the work, giving possible suggestions, and making necessary editing changes for works that are accepted.
Another couple of hours is spent downloading new submissions, organzing them into batches, and sending out the dreaded rejection letters.
I want, at times, to just send off a general rejection form letter like a lot of these hack publications do(you know, 'Dear Contributor....thank you for your submission, we are passing.) But we try to be more than that. We, as writers ourselves, know how much time and planning goes into writing a story or poem. We know how it feels to pour a peice of a yourself into your work, only to have it rejected. Yes, as writers, we still get rejection letters too.
Which is why we try to be different with ours. We want to offer some guidance, some hope. After all, our job as editors are to critique the work as a whole, and that includes offering suggestions on how to turn a good work of fiction into a great work. We always stress that its 'our opinion', stating that the writer should always do what they feel is right for their story creatively, even if its ignoring our suggestions.
Part of being a writer, and we can't stress this enough, is learning to take rejection. After a barrage of emails from one writer in particular this reading period, we decided to post a few helpful suggestions.
-Telling the editors that the peice was written for (insert big name publisher here) might impress, but its not a guarentee, so please don't take offense if its rejected.
-arguging with an editor about his/her spelling typos because you're pissed your work is rejected is juvenile. Remember, most editors get hundreds, if not thousands of submissions (ourselves included). Even as editors, we make spelling mistakes too.
-stating that others have said your work is compariable to Poe, Shakespeare, Twain, or Salinger after receiving a rejection in a plea to get your work published doesn't make you look professional.
Most editors network with other editors, and we do talk shop. We've never had to blackball a person for beligerance, but it came close this time. Sometimes the submissions aren't what we are looking for. It happens, its nothing personal. We have only a finite amount of space, and we can only choose the best. It by no means says a writers work sucks, it just means its not for us. Odds are, another editor might like it.
Overall, we've received a lot of great response by how much we put into our personal responses to the submissions. It's a goal we set for ourselves when we started Bete Noire. So please, keep the stories and poems and artwork coming...(even the creepy clown ones, though they freak me out).
See you next reading period....