Saturday, August 13, 2011

Author's Ego vs Editor's License

As an author, I understand the pride that comes with every accomplished work. I also know the ego-bruising that comes with every rejection.  How many times has my precious creation been kicked to the curb or cut at the last minute by some editor's license to call the shots? Recently, I had an author brusquely remove her work from our publication because we couldn't run her story in the issue we had initially slotted it for.

As an editor, I find myself having to make the harsh calls for the sake of limited space or special feature. It is hard for me to notify writers, who have toiled day and night on their beloved story or poem, that I won't be able to include the work. Yes, on occasion, this is exactly the call I have to make. And of course, the ego-bruising begets reactionary lashing out by said author.

Let's be reasonable, people. If you're a writer, you seriously need to get used to what might feel like abuse but isn't. What is with this sense of entitlement? Being published is an honor and a privilege that many may never achieve! Take Kathryn Stockett, author of "The Help." She suffered over 60 rejections before some kind editor saw the value of her work. Now the book is slotted for feature film production. I can sit here all day and cite case after case of authors enduring the onslaught the slings and arrows of outrageous editorial license, but I don't see the need to beat that stale old nail into your heads any deeper. 

Last minute cuts, final rejections, even whittling down well-crafted writing so that it can fit into a column are all par for the course! Learn to take it on the chin with a modicum of grace! Don't throw a diva's snit--especially when you haven't reached that level of recognition as an author! And even then, behaving like a spoiled brat is in poor form. 

The best thing to do is lean forward and move on with your work. If you believe in your powers of creativity, you will get there! 

As for those authors who flipped their wigs because I couldn't print their stories, they have kicked a gift horse in the mouth. As a Managing Editor, I do call the harsh shots, but I am true to my word. If I say the work will be published, it will be--perhaps not in the issue at first intended, but I will always find a home for it down the line. Our magazine remains true to its mission to help writers showcase their  'wares'.

1 comment:

  1. As difficult as it is to be critiqued, we all face the prospect. For writers, it's important to realize that most comments/delays/rejections are about the work - and rarely about you. Of course, if everyone says you stink, find a new line of work and develop better hygiene.