The Eleventh Commandment: Calleth not editors

And God did sayeth unto his flock: “Calleth an editor, and the skies will doth darken and thunder will striketh you deader than a doornail.”

I’d listen to God, He’s got game.

If you’re ever tempted to call an editor to see if you have a “good idea,” don’t. Just…don’t. We aren’t here to vet your ideas, and unless you’re an agent or one of my authors, calling to engage in a friendly chit chat is more irritating than running out of sacramental wine.

Just today, an author called and expected me to drop everything so he could run not one idea, not two ideas, but “several” book ideas past me to see which one I liked the most.

Blink Blink.

At first I thought it was one of my reprobate friends who love tweaking my last vestiges of sanity. But, alas, this was truly a lost soul.

I told the gent it wasn’t my job to help him determine which book idea is the best. It’s my job to read queries and see if the story looks interesting and fits in with our lineup. That’s how the game is played. Publishers aren’t review sites – that’s why God invented writer sites, where authors can vet their ideas and get crits on their writing.

I understand that it’s frustrating not to simply pick up the phone and talk to an editor, maybe ask her to hear out an idea or three, but we have submission guidelines in order to streamline our lives. If we had to sit on the phone all day, we wouldn’t get anything done, which consist of far more than reading query letters. And it makes me grind my molars to hear, “Yah, I read your submission guidelines, but I thought I’d preempt the process in order to move things along at a faster pace.” Um…faster for whom, exactly?

What makes some people think they’re so special that they can invade someone’s day, knowing full well that it’s not cool? What has engendered their sense of entitlement?

It seems that my incredulity knows no limits because my jaw hung slack while he told me that he expected the two of us to figure out which idea had the most promise, and then he’d go ahead and write that book. Man, I want what he’s smoking.

Rather than be well read in his genre and having a good idea about his competition, he thought it perfectly normal to let me do his work for him. Like we have nothing BETTER to do?

Some people really do believe they’re too cool to adhere to the rules. If you’re one of them, please remove your brain with a rusty spoon and demand a better model. The world doesn’t need another soul who believes his own press. That’s why God created Charlie Sheen. Be smart, follow the guidelines, ingratiate yourself by understanding the business of writing a great query or proposal, and knowing how to conduct yourself.

Ah, who am I kidding? I’m just ticked off I didn’t hang up on him. Next time, babe. Next time.

5 Responses to The Eleventh Commandment: Calleth not editors

  1. Digital Dame says:

    You didn’t get into which studio would want to option the movie rights?

  2. NinjaFingers says:

    I always feel the best policy with editors is don’t call them, they’ll call you.

  3. Becky Mushko says:

    The next time he (or another one) calls, tell him you like his idea but you simply can’t consider it until he adds vampires, dragons, recipes, a tie-in to the War of 1812, a cute dog, a precocious child with paranormal powers, at least one unicorn, time travel, pirates, several Biblical references, a couple of state secrets, and a natural disaster or two. And it has to be at least 357,250 words. Tell him you won’t look at the manuscript until it’s complete and has been edited by an outside editor. The day after he sends you the manuscript (if he ever does), send a polite rejection that you just got a similar one only the day before and decided to go with that one. That should fix him.

  4. Bwhahaha. Becky, you totally win outstanding comment of the month. For that, you just won a free copy of The Writer’s Essential Tackle Box. Email me your addy, and I’ll stick it in the mail.

  5. Laura W. says:

    You should have told him, “I’m sorry, but we already signed Charlie Sheen and our ego department has their hands full right now, so…”

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