10 Ways to Make Editors Hate You Before They Even Know You

You wouldn’t think that writers would want to make editors hate them. Unfortunately, judging by terrible submissions writers keep sending in, that must be the goal. Always one to give guidance, even when it is bad guidance, I offer this short guide to making editors hate you.

Don’t get to the point. Editors are very busy. When they read a query letter or a submission cover, what they really want to know is what you are proposing and how it fits their needs. The longer you can keep yourself from telling them that, the better your chances of getting an editor to hate you.

Don’t use enough postage. Guess what? No one is going to pay the mailman just to see your submission. If you really want to aggravate an editor, send your submissions via certified mail and make them sign for it.

Get the editor’s name wrong. There’s no quicker way to get on an editor’s bad side than to misspell their name. This is a great way to get your query letter thrown away before it even gets opened. While you’re at it, get their title wrong too. That should ensure a quick trip to the garbage can.

Ignore the editor’s needs. Send the editor of an arts journal an article about ways to avoid a hangover. Send your proposal for a microwave recipe book to a publisher specializing in historical fiction. It may not quite make the editor hate you, but it will certainly be good for a laugh.

Insult other people’s work. The book you’re proposing? It’s way better than any other book in the genre and the editor should know that. Take the time to insult the competition. If you get lucky, you may just insult something the editor has worked on in the past. That should really tick them off.

Send the editor a letter that stinks. Chances are, your proposal will stink anyway. What I mean is send them one that smells bad. Smoke while you write it, or scent it with perfume. While you’re at it, use an obnoxious paper color like pink or orange. Make your query as unpleasant to smell as it is to read.

Talk money. Make it clear in the first few sentences that you expect a certain amount of money for your efforts and you will accept nothing less. Whether your demands are in the editor’s range or not doesn’t matter. Your demands will make them hate you either way.

Tell the editor how much your friends and family love your work. If you’re really out to convince the editor that you know next to nothing about the publishing industry, including the opinions of people the editor doesn’t know and has no reason to respect ought to do it.

Try to sound cocky and sarcastic. You know you’ve got the goods, why should you try to be polite and businesslike? This should make it clear to the editor just how big of a hassle it will be to work with you. Note: Feel free to use this article as a guide.

Use a cheap printer, or better yet, a typewriter. Nothing screams “not worth the effort to read” more than poorly printed, smudged text.

18 thoughts on “10 Ways to Make Editors Hate You Before They Even Know You

  1. Thanks Sandra and Cindy. In my time as an Editor, I saw plenty of terrible submissions. Email tends to make them even worse, but that is another story for another time.

  2. Must say I agree with you Cindy. I’ve read query letters that embody most, if not all, of the points John mentions. Crazy how some people think….

  3. Pingback: How to Write a Query Letter | Writer's Resource Center
  4. Sell editors on something, just to find its a lie.==ignore them. Tell them thats wrong in front of others. Step on their foot. Spill coffee on them. Turn fan on towards their desk. Pull plug on their computer. Talk to others about them quietly in front of them. Call him a idiot in front of others.

  5. I’ve been accused of my last email for saying the same thing twice. No your wrong, i’ve never been asked that question on this site or any other for that question. Your wrong.

  6. Michael,
    Those are some great points, and doing them in all caps was an great extra way to make people hate you, but it hurt my eyes so I changed it to sentence case.

    John Hewitt — Author of how to make commenters hate you before they even know you.

  7. Great article – and so true about the smell of smoke. I read a book on getting your novel published and the editor said she won’t even give a manuscript a glance if it smells of smoke.

  8. Pingback: Bad Novel Writing | PoeWar.com Writer's Resource Center
  9. Great tips!

    And it always helps to brag about all the books you’ve had self published. Name drop if possible, especially if you’ve worked with such renowned companies such as Publish America.

  10. And use the word “such” twice in one sentence like the brilliant poster above me. *eyeroll* (Is there an edit option?)

  11. Great article you’ve got there.

    IMO, A professional writer should never do those things, specially if he / she is serious about business.

    Stampage was a funny thing :)

    Free Fitness Tipss last blog post..What Is The Cause Of Eczema?

  12. Thanks for this.

    If I may ask, “Is there anything that editors don’t hate in the first five seconds they see it?” They sound like a race of sub-humans who drop-kick babies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>