How to lose an editor in ten seconds

Number 1:

The book have been partly edited and is in descent shape, however there are parts that I have intentionally left unedited, in their raw form.

If a manuscript has only been “partially” edited, then I submit that it’s not in decent shape, as the author insists. This author lost major goodie points for sending inferior work. He made the beagle want to contact her hit team for admitting it.

Number 2:
Sending a full manuscript with your query. Major bad news beagle biting no-no. Authors should never send a manuscript – or pages – unless invited to do so. Upon opening up said manuscript [let’s not go into the reasons why I didn’t just delete it. Sometimes there is no reason behind half the things I do. I blame the beagle for this.] and see that the author failed to turn off their Track Changes feature in Word. That means I can see every weency editing change they made. Actually, it proved to be pretty entertaining.

I cannot urge this enough; before you attach a few pages, a few chapter, or your entire manuscript [and only because you’ve been invited to do so], open up those pages and take a final spin through the pages. Make sure you’re sending only your very best. And for the love of all that’s holy, turn off the darned Track Changes.

Number 3:
Sending an improperly formatted manuscript. Instead of indented paragraphs, double spacing, and TNR 12 point, the manuscript is formatted like an email – single spaced, no indentations, paragraph separations are done with an extra carriage space. And they used Comic Sans! This is instant death for me because there is no excuse for this. All a writer need do is turn on their computer and google “manuscript formatting.”

It’s like working in a fine restaurant. Your customer orders the most expensive meal on the menu and upon presenting him with the bill, the customer says, “sorry, dude, no can pay.” First thing out of your mouth would be, “what the hellcats is this?” This is not what you expected right? You’re in a fine restaurant, and you expect that your customers are well-heeled enough to pay for their meal. Well, I’m a fine little publisher, and I expect my “customers” to be equally well-heeled in the art of submitting manuscripts. This is a noob mistake, and unlike the waiter – who will probably call the cops – I will run in the opposite direction. I don’t mind new writers. I do mind noobs.

Number 4:

My book is literary action/adventure

The hell you say. This is another genre bender, and this is never a good idea. Especially when you try to bend literary fiction with anything remotely pretending to be action/adventure. My dear friend Sally Zigmond defines literary fiction far better than I.

Good literary fiction, whilst not intellectual and pretentious navel-gazing, isn’t meant to tell a plot-driven adventure story. It’s like mixing barbecue sauce into your chocolate mousse.

Sally, remind me to keep the barbecue sauce/choccie mousse idea away from the beagle. She’s given to trying new things in the kitche. But Sally is right. Literary fiction is about as far away from action/adventure as I am from wearing spiked heels and a beehive hairdo. Resist the temptation to add “literary fiction” to your work unless it truly is literary fiction. Many bungle the definition of literary fiction and think it means that the writer uses big words. It goes beyond big words – literary fiction is a lifestyle, so classify your work accordingly

Number 5:
Ok, this won’t lose me in ten seconds, but it does make one eyebrow yank toward the ceiling. It’s a silly thing, really, but it all goes to behaving as the consummate the professional. I’m talking about your email address. Many people share an email address with their significant other or – God forbid – the entire family.

There is nothing more Wal-Mart-ish than receiving a serious query letter addressed from TheFrumpyCrowd.com or ChicksDigMe.net. Ew. It’s even more confusing if your email address is in your hubby’s name, but you are the writer. I’ve sent countless rejections to a writer’s husband because I was in a hurry and didn’t look at the person signing the email.

Dudes. Dudettes. Get your own email account. It’s the professional thing to do. The beagle has a fire sale going on right now for cheapie email accounts.

I’m sure there are other things that can make me run for the hills, but these are the big ticket items for this week. Next week could promise a whole new set of luggage.

10 Responses to How to lose an editor in ten seconds

  1. Nicola Morgan says:

    “My book is literary action/adventure” – brilliant! I just did a post on identifying your genre/category but I didn’t even think of that hilarious example. Must go and put a retrospective link to your post.

    But Lynn, we all want to know why you DID open that submission ….

  2. Kathryn Lang says:

    It’s a bit disconcerting knowing that my mistakes could be potential entertainment – but it’s that way around my home so why should the real world be any different.

    Thanks for bringing a smile to my face first thing this morning. I hope to meet the beagle one day – sounds like a great one to know!

  3. Allen Parker says:

    One of my favorite chocolate desserts has a tablespoon of Hot Peach BBQ sauce in it. You haven’t lived until you taste the sweet of chocolate and the burn of a hot Peach sauce at the same time.

  4. But Lynn, we all want to know why you DID open that submission ….

    According to my new best friend, Colin, I’m an arrogant tosser. That must mean I opened it up [subliminally, of course] in search of fresh meat to kill.

  5. Nicola Morgan says:

    Well, Lynn, you have been known to toss those martinis back quite confidently, but I wouldn’t like to say whether you do it arrogantly, as I have not personally witnessed it, though I would like to one day.

  6. Marian says:

    There’s nothing wrong with tossing a stiff drink back arrogantly, as long as you do it with your pinky finger delicately crooked.

  7. Nicola Morgan says:

    Marion, that is an extremely good point. It is all about finesse, and Lynn has it. She also talks a hell of a lot of sense from an expert perspective and if some people don’t like it then that’s their problem.

  8. Colin Jordan says:

    Hi Lynn:
    I follow this wonderful blog every day. I just wanted you to know that the Colin who posted above was not me.
    Colin Jordan

  9. Psst, Beagle. Call off the hit squad on Colin Jordan. He’s a good guy.

    No worries, Colin. You’re safe now. Pity. The beagle was so looking forward to trying out her new Uzi.

  10. Lauren says:

    The book have been partly edited and is in descent shape, however there are parts that I have intentionally left unedited, in their raw form.

    That writer’s manuscript is certainly in “descent” mode if that sentence is any indication of its quality.

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