Saturday, May 14, 2011

Editor's Creed

As an editor, it is never our intention to shoot down your dreams. It is our intention to offer the tools you need and guide you to your goal--Publication.

It is not our intention to be cold and critical but to teach and inform, to show you how to better your stories, perfect your words. Make your projects shine.

I believe I can speak for any of The Wild Rose Press editors and say that our least favorite thing in the world is to write a rejection to an aspiring writer. However, it does offer us the chance to aid you in your pursuit to contract your work with us or another publisher if you choose to heed the explanation so carefully woven into your repectfully written letter detailing "why" your story or book was rejected.

Rejection is never comfortable, but taken constructively only helps to make you a much stronger, more vivid writer. Pay attention to every detail, every explanation your editor gives you. She is trying to mold you into a publishable author. One who stands out. One who doesn't land in the proverbial slush pile after the first paragraph.

I've listed some hints we drop so often I know you are more than sick of hearing them, but we continuously see these problems with submissions:

  • First and formost, please follow guideline requests. That is why we put them up. Time after time we receive submissions that are not formatted properly. We are not interested in your fancy fonts and a pretty manuscript. All that does is make it more difficult when it comes time to format for galley. Always use .rtf formatting. Nothing else--ever!

  • More on guidelines. Pay attention to individual line content needs. For instance: you are submitting to Black Rose. Did you read the guidelines carefully? If so, why am I receiving a story about Faeries and time travel when my line handles vampire, wereshifters, demons, and all the darker less whimsical creatures of the paranormal genre? If your stories have witches/warlocks/gargoyles, whatever--be sure the story elements are dark and include one of the above mentioned entities, otherwise it is more likely a Faery fit. Study the needs of each line thoroughly BEFORE you submit. If in doubt at any time, we are always happy to guide you.

  • Proofread, proofread, proofread... We can't stress this enough. When a manuscript comes in that is filled with typos, spelling errors, wrong words and clearly not proof read, YOU WILL BE REJECTED. This is just plain lazy. NEVER allow your work to go out the door without a thorough going over. Always have two or more people proof you work. As editors, we have to have a cold read(copyedit) done(someone to go over a manuscript to be sure WE didn't miss something!) So rest assured YOU need to do this as well. Don't skip important steps. Critique partners are excellent for this. They will also be able to pick up plot problems, redundancy, inconsistencies, etc. All of which WILL get you a rejection or a revision request at the very least. TWRP does offer a critique group. I've encoded the link for you to follow, why not check it out?

  • A word about copyrights, brand names and trademarks. Be aware when mentioning products, music, people(actors, authors, singers etc.) there are issues that may arise including copyright and trademark infringements. It is best NOT to go there at all. As editors, we flag these and WILL insist that you change such items.

The above are a few things that are constant headaches for us as editors. I want to mention another thing I have recently come across in closing. Please beware of the thin line between a story idea and plagerism!

I recently had a submission that was titled similar to a blockbuster series and even took place in the same locale! This is a definite no, no. You can not write a spinoff of another author's works nor use their story ideas in any fashion that is close to the original.

Something else you must be diligent about is not referencing characters from other works in your stories. Seems innocent enough especially in a postive light but not a good idea. The best way to handle any potential problems of this sort is to NOT do it at all. I can't stress this enough.

I would now like to share with you, the author, our MISSION STATEMENT as editors:

To endeavor to make your writing the very best it can be, whether we enter into contract or not. Know that we are only trying to help you. Never to discourage only encourage and teach. Polish your story and make your writing shine!

Thank you.

Callie Lynn Wolfe, SE Black Rose


Sarah_Faery said...

Thanks, Callie. I am always grateful when a potential author is a rule-follower. It makes everyone's job easier. Well said.

Brenda Whiteside said...

I have a great deal of respect for editors at TWRP and the philosophy of how submissions are handled. A flat no with no explanation could end in defeat for most authors. The time TWRP editors take in explaining can save a manuscript from the trashcan and certainly helps the writer to improve.

Jannine Gallant said...

I love rejections with constructive criticism. Okay maybe not love initially (LOL), but after the pain of rejection wears off, they're extremely helpful. I had a publisher reject a historical because she said a widowed 22 year old in 1880 would never be allowed to live alone on a farm. The whole premise of the story was flawed. After giving it some serious thought, I wrote an aunt into the story. It took a ton of work but made the story much stronger. If the editor had said thanks but no thanks, I would never have taken it to the next level.

Callie Lynn said...

Hi, Sarah!

I know what you mean. Thanks for dropping by:)


Callie Lynn said...

Hello, Brenda!

Thank you so much for piping in. We always want to hear from the authors. It's what keeps the garden thriving:)


Callie Lynn said...

Hello, Jannine!

As I said, never is or should it be the intention of the editor to discourage an author. Let's face it, without authors and your submissions we would not be in business. Why on Earth would we ever want to discourage that?!

Thank you so much for sharing your story and truly it is difficult to love a rejection, LOL but we try to make them a little easier to swallow here in the garden.


Amanda said...

Thanks for taking the time to write individual rejection letters. I know all the editors are busy, but your taking the time has enhanced TWRP's image out there, and that has increased our credibility as epub authors in a sea of hundreds of thousands of other authors.

Bunch of Stuff said...

My editor rejected three of mine in the last year or so, but the comments she'd given to me helped me sell two of them to different publishers. Better than that, I think I finally no what's missing.
I'm working on a new book now.
Thank you for your help.

Jill James said...

Callie, great edit tips for everyone.