This is one of my best tips, ya’ll. And I’m giving it to you for FREE!
What makes this one of my best tips? If you do what I’m going to share with you here, you will build a great working relationship with your editors so that they want you to write for them. Breaking in is easy, folks. Staying in is another story.
When I started getting published, I wanted to know what changes the editors made to my stories. (Because I’m a geek that way.) I mean, what commas were they removing, which sentences were they rearranging, how were they changing my quotes? I still want to know.
So, when I receive my contributor copies in the mail—after the happy dance, of course—I open the magazine to my story and compare the printed version word-for-word with the copy of what I turned in. I mark any changes the editor made to my story on my Word doc.
Why do I do this? Because if I see that the publication does not use the Oxford comma, I quit using the Oxford comma. If I see that the first time a person is quoted using first and last name but subsequent mentions are surname only, I know what to do next time. In essence, I get inside the brain of my editor and see what he wants in my submissions so that the next time I submit to him, I give him what he wants.
Why do I take such pains to please the editor? Because he is paying my bills. And if I turn in clean copy, that requires little of his time and attention, he will give me more assignments. But if I continue to use that Oxford comma, format my quotes incorrectly for his publication, or do the other things that require his time to correct, he just might find someone else to do it his way. And that would be tragic.
A few years ago I visited the editorial offices of my favorite magazine. While giving me the tour the editor asked me what was next. He said he appreciated having a regular contributor who turned in clean copy every time.
I’m still happy dancing over that one. 🙂
This is just one way to make your editor happy. For a complete checklist, fill out the form below.