Lamentations from a Recent Former Editor

A month ago I was contacted by a new publication to come aboard as one of a handful of editors. Without putting enough thought into it, I accepted, agreeing that I was qualified having successfully copyedited several published books.

Each day there were many stories submitted, and as an editor, I had the power to edit, or not, and publish, or not. We had not had the opportunity for a discussion amongst the editors to establish the rules for editing, so I chose to let the editor in chief/publisher handle these submissions explicitly. However, with each submission I grew more and more concerned about the typos and blatant grammatical errors that were rapidly flowing in and wrote several emails to the publisher, questioning his decision to feature these stories without careful review. I was told that if I had corrections, I should send them to him first. Consequently, I sent several pages of corrections, and when I didn’t hear back after twenty-four hours, I questioned him again. His answer was “I’m working on them.”

Why do some editors decide to publish stories that are written by writers that have not even read their own first draft and just hit “publish” after their last sentence has been typed? Why aren’t these writers proofreading? Perhaps some editors accept these stories from fear of a blank cover page and/or rushing to attract followers?

After considering my dilemma of whether to stay or go for a bit longer, I decided that I would rather spend my time writing than correcting copy anyway. It was my fault that I made a hasty decision to join a fledgling startup without considering the obstacles. So I left like a thief in the night, withdrawing my stories one at a time. And after that was done, I wrote a quick goodbye and stole my name back from the roster.

I will still continue to edit for a few fellow writers and a publisher or two — yes, I have done that from time to time. Though, until I feel absolutely passionate about a publication, I will abandon editing in the interest of writing.

You can find more stories by Danna Colman here.

Writer and copyeditor. “What doesn’t kill us gives us something new to write about” ~ J. Wright