Monday, March 08, 2010

10 ways... drive your friendly neighbourhood editor mad as a loon.

1. When you send in your first ever enquiry mail, make sure your mail features a large variety of fonts in different point sizes, in every colour of the rainbow and then some. No really, nothing warms the cockles of our little editorial hearts than enquiry emails that sear our retinas. Eyesight? Pah! Who needs it?!

2. Pitch your editor story ideas on the lines of, ‘I went to this fabulous place that every single travel magazine has covered about fifty thousand times before! I have no new insights on it at all but hey! This is me! The fabulous-est writer in all of writerdom! Surely you would not deny yourself the privilege of publishing something *I* have authored? I may even let you pay me for it! At higher-than-standard market rates, of course! And yes, you may now weep with gratefulness.’

3. Pepper your pitch with misspellings, atrocious grammar and cryptic acronyms. A generous sprinkling of ellipses is always appreciated. And don’t forget children, commas are the new confetti!

4. Before submitting your story, send your editor angsty pieces about your troubled relationship with your father. (You should preferably be of the male persuasion for this to have maximum worry effect). Then, pointedly ask the bewildered, flustered soul what she thinks of them. You may also accost her on chat and show her pictures of your houseplant / dog / ex. Ask for her honest opinions on these as well.

5. Miss your deadline, preferably by three to five days and make sure you are absolutely unreachable in that time. The window should be just enough so that your editor starts tearing her hair out with worry, but is not quite sure whether it’s worth commissioning another writer because it would mean briefing them, and then begging them to give you the piece by the now-even-tighter deadline.

6. Plagiarise, plagiarise, plagiarise. To do this with style, leave in the hyperlinks to the websites you’ve brazenly lifted from. When confronted by said editor, be absolutely unapologetic. Say things like, “But an Onam Sadya is the same wherever you eat it! I can’t write THAT differently.” When informed by the editor that she will not be carrying your story because it is not, in effect, YOUR story, get all huffy. Send her an angry, indignant mail telling her that she should have TOLD you about the Wiki links so that you could rework it! And that if she’s NOT carrying the story, the loss is HERS. So there!

(This will probably cause your editor to cry big splashy tears into her keyboards, but really, she is stupid and had it coming. What can you do?)

7. Once you have sent in the story, ask her repeatedly what she thinks of it, expecting of course, nothing less than effusive praise. If she has the temerity to suggest changes, get all huffy. Hey, YOU’RE the writer. If she was one, would she be editing??

8. Once your story has been printed and you have received your payment and your magazine copy, mail your editor accusing her of being unprofessional and unethical for editing your story TO HER MAGAZINE’S STANDARDS. The nerve of her!

9. Coldly inform her that you are no longer interested in writing for her magazine ever again. Then, after a month or so, send her an alleged email exchange between you and a friend, which has absolutely nothing to do anything on god’s earth as she knows it. And now that you’ve broken the ice with the aforementioned email, tell her that you’d like to get to know her better. And that you’d like to continue writing for her. Because lame attempts to flirt, especially with a person who is thoroughly spooked out by you, will get you EVERYWHERE.

Ah! And it turns out there are only nine.
So far*.

*Oh great proofreader in the sky! I am not trying to tempt fate or anything. I have witnessed thy wrath! Please do not send me any more of the crazies!