Have you ever wanted to %@$^ an editor? Here’s how by Deb Joelle

Yes, it’s true, I have annoyed an editor (probably more than one, but this is one incident I know about for sure). I don’t suggest you try it.

Here’s the deal. I’m not that into April Fool’s jokes because I don’t like to be mean-spirited and playing them, even harmless ones, makes me feel bad. However, give a girl a website…

Yes, I admit, I posted a joke post on my website a few years ago. It was actually pretty funny, except for the fact people didn’t seem to realize it was a joke and I got a bunch of congratulations emails. Including one from a magazine editor who I like to work with and do not want mad at me. Fortunately, after I fessed up, he (coldly) said, “Oh, funny.” After a bit of time things are okay, but I learned my lesson.

I’ll post it here, but, remember! This is a joke! It’s not true!!!

I was working (not watching the Cubbies lose), when the phone rang. Usually, I ignore the phone when I’m working, but I saw on the caller ID that it was NYC and since I don’t have my agent’s number memorized, I thought I better answer it just in case. It wasn’t him, but it did have to do with writing!It was a Big Time Editor at an Undisclosed Publishing House (I can’t say for privacy reasons) and she wanted to talk to me about my article, Red Hair Is Not As Uncommon As You Think – Twenty-five of the most overused things in MG & YA fiction. She told me that they’d been talking about it in the editorial department and everyone agreed that it really was a comprehensive list of the things they never want to see in a manuscript again. She told me, “It wasn’t so bad before your article, but now that we see it there in black and white, it’s kind of embarrassing to see how many novels we’ve published that include these things.”

I got sort of flustered then and tried to explain that I didn’t think they were horrible faux pas or anything, but just something I was trying to make writers aware of because it seemed to me that too many people were using them, thinking they were unique ideas. She agreed and then she told me the kicker! Apparently Undisclosed Publishing House has decided to use my article as parameters for acceptance!!!

“I mean,” she said, “these won’t be the only parameters, but they will definitely carry some weight. We’ll accept a few incidents of things from the list, as long as the writer is willing to change them in the editorial process, especially if the writer has already been published by our house. However, we’ve decided that five violations in the first fifty pages is an automatic rejection on unsolicited manuscripts. We might even have to play hard ball with some of our regular writers if they’re difficult about making changes. We don’t have time to waste editing out lists and red haired best friends.”

To say I was stunned, is putting it mildly. On one hand, I think it’s pretty cool that so many people liked my article and that Big Publishing House sees the value of it, but really…I’m a little worried about hate mail. I was actually thinking of telling her that I didn’t really think this was a good idea and that maybe I didn’t want her to use my article and then she said the word that changed everything and my whole outlook brightened. She offered me compensation!

This is a joke! It’s not true!!!

9 Replies to “Have you ever wanted to %@$^ an editor? Here’s how by Deb Joelle”

  1. Very funny – but if I’d read it on your blog and not realized it was April Fool’s Day, I might’ve been a sucker, at least for a while! It sounds bizarre but if I hadn’t had my coffee…

  2. LOL! Just because they don’t admit to it doesn’t mean they don’t do it.

    But now, as a published author, doesn’t that scenario give you chills? “Joelle, we really like your second book, but here’s a list of things you have to change.”

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