Whew! There’s a lot to learn when you’re striving for rejection. Here is your last round of ideas to help you to master the art of losing an editor in ten ways.
Way 8: Don’t Edit Your Work
No one’s work is perfect. So, to seal a rejection of your manuscript, skip editing. Editors who receive manuscripts with typos, grammar issues, run-on sentences and inconsistent storyline have no choice but to slam-dunk your manuscript into the trash bin.
“Don’t submit a story without editing and proofreading it first,” said Courtney Lasater, editor of Keys for Kids.“A polished page will make your story shine!”
Successful freelancers often take a break before going back to edit their work. Allowing themselves to be refreshed while distancing themselves a bit from their work helps them look at it with fresh editing eyes later. Sometimes they will print it out and get away from the computer to edit. During this process, they verify that a problem was presented and solved, that the story flows, characters are appropriately portrayed, and that each scene serves a purpose.
But if your goal is to avoid publication, you won’t need to worry about the editing stage.
Way 9: Don’t Read Your Story to Anyone Else
If you want to fail miserably, don’t let anyone else read your manuscript. Writers who hope to be published have their work read by friends or family members. But a children’s writer who hopes to be published should invite children for whom the book is intended to read and critique their work.
Writers gain great insight as to the quality of their work. Did the children stay engaged? Were they excited when reading the rescue scene? Did they ask any questions about the story? Did they want to read it again?
“Don’t submit a snoozer,” said Stephen O’Rear, senior associate editor of Clubhouse magazine. “If they squirm (or fall asleep) before you finish, then it won’t work in print either. Try cutting run-on sections or adding humor to hold a kid’s interest.”
Way 10: Don’t Welcome Any Changes by the Editor
If an editor has accepted your manuscript for publication, don’t worry. You can still strain the editor/writer relationship and lose your chances of future publication opportunities. Simply complain about any additional edits they have made in the final version of your story.
“Even if it’s purchased, edits will be made,” said Kate Jameson, assistant editor of Clubhouse Jr. She emphasized that the reason for changes is often not because they don’t think the story is good. “We want the piece to match the tone and style of our magazine. Even authors who have been writing for us for years get edited or asked to rewrite the story. So, don’t get attached to your story exactly the way it is.”
Kandi Zeller, editor of teen devotional publication Unlocked, encouraged aspiring and seasoned writers: “We love freelance writers,” said Zeller. “They are an important part of God’s kingdom: they share the Gospel with their words!” She encouraged writers by stating that even if a manuscript is rejected, it does not mean the author is a bad writer or that the editor wouldn’t be interested in working with them in the future. “It just means that particular piece was not a good fit for the devotional. If you do receive a rejection, please try again.”
Zeller’s statement reflects the attitude of most editors. They desire to work with freelancers and are willing to work on building relationships with them. Don’t let a rejection discourage you. Think of it as simply a redirection notice.
I hope this series was helpful. And I hope that instead of losing an editor, your takeaway will be how to win the heart of every editor you meet. Do the extra work; go the extra mile. Build those relationships and you will find yourself published. If you feel truly called by God to write, continue to pursue the calling.
If you missed the previous posts in this series, you’ll find them here:
Part II: HOW TO MESS UP YOUR CHARACTERS
Part III: COMPLICATE YOUR CONTENT
Cindy works as marketing manager and brand storyteller for Child and Parent Services, a nonprofit child abuse prevention organization. She has written more than 525 articles for publication and a handful of book excerpts. Her published portfolio includes children’s stories, kids’ activities, profiles, how-to, humor, and human interest. Cindy’s website here.