Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Mini-Rant

Over the years I've read many pieces by editors whose number one complaint was writers who didn't spell their names right in the cover letter.  Editors wanted you to know and respect what they did.  What happened to those editors?  Yes, I know, Submittable has changed that a lot.

Today, with new zines and e-publishers popping up daily, you can't even find the names of the people in charge and I have to wonder why.  Are you embarrassed that you're starting up a business?  Or perhaps you're not serious about what you're doing and this way no one can point fingers if you fail?

From the writers' point of view the no name editor is not acceptable, or shouldn't be.  We're trusting you with our work and we want to know who we're dealing with.  No, we don't care what you had for breakfast, or if your wife is cheating on you.  What we want to know is simple.  Your name and your intentions.  Just like a marriage we want to know what we can expect from you in a working relationship.

A simple about page is all you need on your website.  Tell us a little about yourself, basically your experience.  What makes you capable of running a new zine or publishing company.  Tell us what makes you trustworthy, because we have to trust you with our work.  It's just common courtesy.  After all you expect us to give you a bio so you know who you're dealing with.

So please, let us know who we're working with, it makes the decision about submitting work to your venue so much easier.  And at least we'd know who to address our cover letter to besides "Hey You".

13 comments:

Al Tucher said...

I have been tempted to address such editors by invented nicknames, but that would probably be counterproductive.

sandra seamans said...

Yes, I know what you mean, Al. Before I knew Todd Robinson was editor of ThugLit I addressed my cover letters to Dear Big Daddy Thug or Dear Editor. Both felt off to me. But what are you going to do if they refuse to say who they are?

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Dear Big Daddy Thug = hilarious!

sandra seamans said...

Almost sounds like the start of a pretty good story, doesn't it, Sean! Of course, the other editors over at ThugLit were Lady Detroit and Johnny Kneecaps. Hmmm "Dear Johnny Kneecaps, My husband needs your unique services." :)

G. B. Miller said...

Always felt uncomfortable myself whenever I had mail/e-mail a query letter, because I never really knew what salutation to use.

Chris Rhatigan said...

This is why I rarely submit to mags where I don't know the editors at all.

I put my name on the site but that's about it. I figure if writers see the quality and consistency of the work, know my name, and know the guidelines, that should be enough. Although it was nice back when Duotrope was free because I did an interview there that shed more light on things.

Cap'n Bob said...

Forgive the impertinence, but that comma before your name on the heading is incorrect.

Allison Glasgow said...

In all fairness, Todd always had an editor page on Thuglit with our full names and a bios, although Dear Big Daddy was the common salutation on submissions. It surely occurred to him, being a mischievous agitator, but I never thought twice about the awkwardness on the other end. Good point, Sandra.

sandra seamans said...

Yes, G, that's just it. How do you address someone if you have no clue who they are?

For an online zine, Chris, most writers just need a name to address their letters to. But it's some of the new ebook publishers that refuse to say who that are that is most bothersome for me.

Welcome to the Corner, Cap'n Bob! I fixed the comma. You should know that commas and I are mortal enemies. I either use too many or not enough. :)

Welcome to the Corner, Allison! I meant no offense using ThugLit as an example. I very much admire the work that Todd puts into the zine. At least Todd gave writers a name to use which is more than some of the new sites are doing.

Allison Glasgow said...

No offense taken! And for the record, I have never called Todd Big Daddy Thug.

Allison Glasgow said...

well, maybe once.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Amen! You want our credentials so give us yours.

David Cranmer said...

David Cranmer is kinda sorta boring. Maybe I should go with Big Poppa. Good?