Sunday, August 26, 2007

How to Stalk an Editor (Handy tips!)

(or, How to Irritate, Alarm, and Creep Out the People You Hope to Work With)

1. Find out as much as you can about us personally. It's always impressive when an author already knows my age and astrological sign.

2. Call us up at work. We love having lengthy chats with strangers about their burgeoning careers. And god knows we've got nothing better to do. This tactic is especially memorable if our extension is not readily available in the company directory.

3. Do regular internet searches to discover what events / conferences we'll be attending. Start showing up at all of them—even if you don't approach us, we'll start wondering about that person who always looks so familiar.

4. Hang out outside our offices and attempt to follow us home. Editors have our defenses down and are more approachable if you can catch us in our apartments.

5. Public restrooms are even better. No one is as vulnerable as they are when they are struggling with their underclothes. This is a perfect chance to pass us your manuscript, or read it to us over the door.

6. Follow us to a bar and sneak a manuscript into our purses when we're distracted. When we find it later, we'll know just how committed you are. Or should be.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

How about: "If we send you a rejection letter, don't take no for an answer. Continue to write and call, explaining why we really need your manuscript."
Also: "During conference Q&As, embroil us in a lengthy discussion about your particular manuscript and why some other editor made a particular comment about it."

Jan said...

Wow, editors must carry big purses if you can cram a manuscript into it surreptitiously. On the up side, think of all the scrap paper you have afterwards.

Poor editors, they're like celebrities without the big bucks. Hopeful writers -- the new paparazzi!

Anonymous said...

whoa. which of these has happened to you? all of them?

Editorial Anonymous said...

4 and 6 are editorial legends, but that doesn't mean they haven't happened.
I thought 5 was a legend, until I met someone it'd happened to.

Anonymous said...

I personally witnessed writers approaching an editor in the rest room at a conference--though not when the editor was actually in the stall.

Qual said...

Okay, so the editor is getting married to her dream man. You both stand at the altar staring at each other like there's no one else in the world. The priest's prayer book is a 60,000 word fantasy novel and he reads a synopsis to the whole congregation. Then while the best man pulls out the rings, the priest proceeds to read 3 sample chapters to the blushing bride.

Just before he pronounces you husband and wife, the priest wants to know if you'd like a recital of the entire manuscript.

But hey, don't complain! He's just following submission guidelines. A synopsis and three sample chapters!

Deirdre Mundy said...

Has anyone ever tried cash bribes to get a respectable editor to listen to their manuscript?

I mean, it's not like publishing pays that well. A wealthy but desperate author who doesn't want to self-publish might make a lot of headway with 10K here or there! =)

(Of course, as a poor, non-desperate author, I'll just stick to my .82 for query letter + SASE...)

Anonymous said...

Well... I guess anyone with that kind of nerve deserves a little attention... ;)

Seriously, I know it's meant to be funny, and you have to laugh at yourself... but there is another side to the story. The majority of my queries never even receive a reply, even though I send the obligatory SASE.

I have no illusions about my grand writing career. But a serious entry might be a nice follow up -- help educate us. We're not all nutcases. I do my research, take workshops, and I do get a lot of work, so I'm not complaining. But any serious information an editor could pass along would be valuable to me.

Kidlitjunkie said...

Wow, editors must carry big purses if you can cram a manuscript into it surreptitiously.

Jan, my purse is that big specifically so I can fit manuscripts into it to read on the subway.

:D

Anonymous said...

To the anon poster wanting more feedback . . . nothing compels me to reply quickly and in detail, better than the work itself. The elusive detailed editorial rejection is a key moment in editorial progress not only because it's a helpful tool, but also because it symbolizes that the work is of the level that editors feel compelled to reply in more detail than a form (or, yes, a non-reply), or to ask for revisions.

It would be wonderful if rejections were always detailed, always full of insight for taking the project to the next level, but that's just not a business reality . . . and with good reason. Advancing to the level of detailed rejections is as much a goal and a milestone in the journey as an acceptance.

And, stalking is never effective for anything but an instantaneous rejection. It's simply the wrong kind of attention, period. Some of these may be urban-editorial mythology, but I've seen some—and far worse—personally.

Anonymous said...

don't forget pre-editor stalking: when a coworker or author gets stalked in an attempt to get a connection to the editor...

k said...

you mean... those aren't... *effective* strategies?!

Damn.