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Having Your Cake and Eating It Too 11 October 2011

Posted by Camille Gooderham Campbell in Publishing Industry.

As I was doing a little bit of industry blog-hopping this morning, I came across an interesting post on the writing blog Nail Your Novel. Although there’s nothing overwhelmingly new in the post itself, the two points Roz Morris makes are good ones that can never bear too much repeating. While I’ve never agreed with the writing cops out there who think that every writing rule needs to be followed 100% of the time (you know the ones: “Aha! I spotted one instance of the passive voice and two said-bookisms in that story, context is irrelevant, shame on you!”), you’ve got to know the rules before you bend them. Ignoring basic cooking techniques altogether doesn’t create a gourmet masterpiece, does it? And while you’d think it would be common sense to revise any writing before sending it out, sadly that point needs almost more repeating than anything else.

But what really struck me was a theme that came up in the comments on the post.

The discussion turned, as it so often does, to self-publishing. Now, I have nothing against self-publishing — in fact, for the right kind of person, it can be the best choice (Robert Swartwood is a great example of a good fit for self-publishing; he’s confident, a strong self-promoter, willing to invest the necessary time and money for a quality finished product, and with a degree of notability from his work with hint fiction that makes him stand out). But self-publishing is a choice, and frankly, if you choose to go that route, you don’t get to moan about the downside of it, just as you don’t get to moan about not keeping all of the profits when you go with a traditional publisher.

On the subject of editorial and proofreading assistance, one commenter noted, “Many of us don’t have the money to hire someone to help us, so what should we do?” and suggested critique partners as a solution. Another commenter responded in agreement, adding that “many of us can’t afford big time editors”.

Ah, but if you want to keep all of the profits, you have to make all of the investment up front, and that includes any editorial services you might need, not to mention good quality original cover art, exterior and interior layout, proofreading, marketing expenses, review copies… all the things publishers take care of at no cost or risk to you, because it’s a publisher’s job to take on that risk and expense. It’s very nice if you can persuade people to do these things for free or at cost when you choose to self-publish, but it’s a bit rich coming from proponents of Yog’s Law — if money should flow toward the writer, why should the graphic designer, illustrator, editor, proofreader and promoter work for free?

Writing groups and critique partners are a great idea during the creative process. But be extremely wary of assuming that all good writers make good editors and proofreaders. Many fine writers do not have the objectivity to edit another writer’s style or separate themselves (and how they would tell the story) from what’s on the page, and then proofreading is a separate skill altogether.

Put it this way: we recently embarked on a semi-major home renovation project — we had a choice between a jack-of-all-trades handyman (who would do all the plumbing and electrical himself) and a professional contractor (with an experienced carpenter and labourer, and professional subcontractors brought in to wire and plumb and paint and tile). We chose the contractor, and everything has been on time, on budget, and left neat and tidy at the end of each work day, plus we have the confidence of knowing that the electrical and plumbing have been done properly and to code.

If you don’t want to (or can’t) put good money behind your writing to give it the best possible start in life, maybe self-publishing isn’t such a good fit for you. Maybe that’s what publishers are for. And now, I’m off to look at some portfolios and hire an illustrator for the cover of K.C. Ball’s novel. ‘Cause I’m a publisher.

Boycott? Seriously? 20 July 2011

Posted by Camille Gooderham Campbell in Publishing Industry.
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I’m always interested in what other fiction magazines are doing. After all, I wouldn’t be operating and editing a fiction magazine if I didn’t value the concept in general. No one does this for the money… EDF is special to me because it’s (partly) mine, but naturally I’m interested in other magazines too — the work they’re publishing, their guidelines and policies, how they handle the various challenges.

So even when I’m drowning in my own submissions pile and have a hundred administrative tasks waiting for me, I try to make a little time each week to look around at magazines that are not part of the Every Day Publishing family. It’s my little way of staying connected with the wider literary world.

Different magazines have different ways of doing things. Some send impersonal form rejections (we don’t) — and I fully understand why, given some of the insane reactions some writers have when they’re actually given reasons why their stories were rejected. Some close submissions from time to time or only have designated windows where submissions are taken (we don’t) — and again, I completely understand why, since the mountains of slush pile up quickly and it would be nice to have a chance to catch up without more coming in. Some don’t pay their authors at all, and some pay professional rates (we do the best we can in the middle with a token payment and wish it could be more). Some charge reading fees from authors, or subscriber fees from readers (we don’t, but the money would be nice…).

The fact is, I know that the realities of editing and publishing are slightly different from magazine to magazine, depending on manpower, financial resources, publishing schedule, target readership, and so on, so I don’t assume that there’s only one best way to do things. It has to be what works for each magazine and its readers and authors and editors. And frankly, I trust and respect my team and my readers and my authors enough that I don’t feel I need to tell anyone how to make decisions. Nor do I need to attack the policies of other magazines. I look around at what others are doing; I learn from it if I can; I assume that what they’re doing is what works for them at the time.

I was saddened, therefore, to come across the following from the qarrtsiluni submission guidelines:

People sometimes ask us how we feel about simultaneous submissions. We feel that however you choose to submit your work is your own damn business, and we urge you to boycott any publications whose editors feel otherwise.

Boycott? Seriously?

Because… that’s talking about… me and my magazine-baby! No, I’m not arrogant enough to think that whoever wrote that bit of copy was specifically thinking about me personally and EDF, but I’m an editor who doesn’t take sim-subs.

The fact is, Every Day Fiction doesn’t accept simultaneous submissions for two very specific reasons:

  • The first reason is that we ask authors to accept our standard contract on submission, and doing so grants us rights that may not be available if the piece is under consideration elsewhere. Obviously the rights revert unused if we do not accept the story for publication, but in the meantime we have a contract problem if someone else accepts the piece and another contract is entered into while ours is still valid.
  • The second reason (related because it’s the reason we do the contract on submission) is that we sometimes have a very fast turnaround between acceptance and scheduling for publication (it can be less than 24 hours if we’re looking for something specific) which doesn’t leave us much of a margin for worrying about contracts at that end, and certainly no margin at all for problem-solving if someone is a trifle behind on notifying us when a piece has been accepted elsewhere.

I can’t imagine the nightmares of having to chase down thirty authors a month to organize contracts after acceptance. What if one is away on vacation? What if another has changed his/her email address or upgraded to a more aggressive spam filter? I’m already swimming in administrivia that gets in the way of actual editing work, and Steven Smethurst’s excellent submission system automates the whole contract process so neatly when the story arrives in the system that I don’t even need to think about it. Also, it makes sense to put the contract right up front; if you don’t like the terms, decline the contract, then the system refuses the story and that’s the end, no time wasted on anyone’s part. My job would also be immeasurably more difficult if I couldn’t accept a story at the eleventh hour and throw it right into the table of contents to be posted that same night. There are months when I’m trolling through the slush piles, literally at eleven o’clock at night on the second-to-last day of the month, looking for one more humour piece for an empty Monday slot or needing something speculative or suspenseful to balance out a particular week heavy on literary introspection.

So it’s not as though we’ve said no to simultaneous submissions just because we can, or to be jerks to the poor authors, or for kicks because it’s funny. We’ve talked about it a lot over the four years since Jordan and Steven and I first sat down together and wrote out our original guidelines page in 2007, and refusing simultaneous submissions is still the best way for us to keep things running smoothly.

Personally, I think that most writers are smart enough to decide for themselves whether a chance of being published at EDF is worth giving us an exclusive look at their work for the 60 to 90 days it takes us to reach a decision. We probably do miss out on some excellent stories because of it, just as we probably miss out on some excellent stories from writers who’ve decided they won’t submit to magazines that pay less than semi-pro rates, but it is what it is.

And I’m glad Every Day Fiction’s submission guidelines don’t have anything mean and antisocial in them.

Kindling That New Relationship Energy 20 March 2011

Posted by Camille Gooderham Campbell in Publishing Industry.
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Thanks to a Google alert on Every Day Fiction, I came across a forum thread today entitled “a new kindle user“. It was, shall we say, enlightening to see a discussion about e-books that wasn’t coming from a writing or publishing source or even a forum devoted to literary discussion — there’s plenty of noise out there from industry-involved people, but not so much from regular readers who don’t have a vested interest in the outcome of it all one way or the other.

Some of my favourite tidbits are:

  • “I haven’t bought a full-price book yet.”
  • “I made sure to tell her to look at the free list first, then she spotted some dollar books too.”
  • “I have only had my Kindle a week and i have read four books.”

Interesting stuff, in light of all the fuss about how e-book sales have shot up after Christmas due to all the e-readers received as gifts while print book sales have fallen.

So, clearly readers are snapping up the free and ultra-cheap reading material that e-readers have made accessible. Especially the classic stuff; who wouldn’t want a nice free e-version of Pride & Prejudice, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, or some handy Yeats or Shakespeare?

All the stats I’ve seen simply indicate that sales of e-books have skyrocketed since Christmas, but I haven’t seen any breakdowns between freebies, ultra-cheap “dollar books”, the still-pretty-cheap ones in the $3 to $5 range, the close-to-mass-market-price ones in the $6 to $9 range, and the “full-price” ones that pop over $10. Are any of these new e-reader owners buying e-books for higher prices? The ones where you can pay $30 for the just-released hardcover or get it in e-book form for $17?

More to the point, though, are these e-book sales still going to be through the roof in July? October? Next year? And will print book sales still be down once the economy recovers?

When I first got my Kindle (a couple of years ago now), I too went through an excited spell of purchasing books for it… Whee! Shop in bed, shop on the bus… wow, I can shop for books anywhere! But eventually the novelty wore off, until I got my iPhone… Oooh, look, a Kindle app! Oooh, I can buy a new book on my phone, what fun! And then the novelty of that wore off too.

That euphoric, impulsive feeling also happens when people are in the early stages of dating; it’s called New Relationship Energy. Sadly, it doesn’t last, much as we wish it would. With relationships, no one expects it to last — you enjoy it and make the most of it, and when it ends, you’ve either got a solid foundation for a lasting partnership or, well, you move on.

Isn’t it much the same with electronic toys? Don’t we dive headlong into the giddy fun of playing with a new phone or computer or music player, getting all of our preferences set up just the way we like them, justifying purchases of apps and software and cases or covers and other lovely add-ons because it’s all part of the rush? But those purchases aren’t indicative of long-term usage and purchasing patterns, any more than someone’s behaviour on a third date is going to be indicative of his or her behaviour as a partner three years ahead.

I don’t think we have enough data yet to define exactly how people are going to use e-readers and e-books through the coming years. They’re definitely a permanent part of the literary landscape and they aren’t going to go away (just as mobile communication devices aren’t going to go away, just as computers aren’t going to go away) but it’s a bit early to be pinpointing their permanent effect on readers everywhere based on that New Relationship Energy – I seriously doubt that the new Kindle owner who squeed about reading four books in his or her first week is going to continue to buy and read four e-books a week indefinitely.

My Kindle, on the other hand, is an old friend at this point. I still take it when I travel. I still buy the occasional e-book, usually something that I would previously have bought as a cheaply made bound-to-fall-apart mass-market paperback to read once. Its ability to subscribe to newspapers and blogs is nice. But I continue to add to my full-to-bursting real-world bookshelves as well, because once the fuzzy glow of newness wore off my e-reader, I remembered how much I enjoy print books too. I love the smell and feel of print books, and the fact that they can be signed and inscribed and treasured as objects of beauty as well as conveyors of words. I don’t mind curling up in bed with my Kindle, I’m well used to it by now and it doesn’t feel strange or unpleasant to me at all, but it doesn’t replace the familiar comfort of an old many-times-read book-friend or the crisp fresh-pages feel of a brand new print volume.

The good news is that, unlike with people, we’re not expected to choose only one forever. We’re not disrespected and called “alternative” (or worse) for enjoying the written word in multiple formats. I can have my Kindle and my print library too, and I suspect that I always will.

Publishing in a Multimedia World 10 February 2011

Posted by Camille Gooderham Campbell in Happiness.
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Not so long ago, I never would have thought I’d say the words “video trailer” in reference to a magazine, at least not with a straight face. Trailers were for movies, weren’t they?

And yet here I am today, thrilled to bits about Every Day Publishing’s first video trailer (for Ray Gun Revival):

Maybe trailer is a word we’ve chosen in the books-n-words industry because we’re not comfortable with what it really is. Because, let’s face the truth, no matter how cool and beautifully produced it is, and regardless of the fact that it’s on YouTube rather than television, it’s a commercial. An ad. Crass salesmanship at its finest, same as what’s used to sell yogurt or razor blades. Two minutes and 36 seconds worth of promotional “story”, a mini film intended to hook viewers’ interest and draw them in, and… well, not exactly make a sale. I mean, there’s nothing to buy. Read the damn magazine, for free. Yes, we must convince them to do that. Twist their arms.

But whether you call it a teaser or a trailer or a commercial or a clip, it’s actually pretty exciting to have taken this step. We are multimedia. We are keeping up with society and technology – if the world is on YouTube, then as a publisher I’d rather be playing “A Whole New World” than “Memory“. Now we just need to finish developing our e-books and iApps to sell, and we’ll be all set, the very model of a modern online publisher.

In any case, I’m so impressed with the work Andy and Jordan and Steven did on it (and Rod’s acting and Adam’s voiceover too). Here’s the production blurb:

This trailer was shot over a weekend in Ellinger’s parents’ house for a budget of under $100. We shot with a Canon T2i SLR that cost under a thousand dollars and edited the whole thing together with Adobe Premier. Everything is hand made, and the blue screening was accomplished with blue tissue scotch taped over the window. The music was made available through Creative Commons by the St. Matthews Choir, and the image is courtesy of the Hubble telescope, also in the public domain.

My favourite moment is when Banner Cooper-Smith adjusts his belt buckle.

It’s great to see Ray Gun Revival rise again, blasting off this month with stories from Larry Hodges, Mike Resnick, Michael Merriam, and Geri Leen. It’s great to be part of making that happen. And it’s really a lot of fun to be splashing an Every Day Publishing video trailer around for it.

That Genre Known As Literary 6 February 2011

Posted by Camille Gooderham Campbell in Random Thoughts.

I’m not sure exactly how “genre” fans get away with bashing “literary” writing, and “literary” readers and writers get away with mocking “genre” fiction, given that “literary fiction” is just another genre. It has its various styles, techniques and conventions, just as every genre does; it has its past masters and its modern greats, as do all other genres; and it has just as much imitative dreck as any other genre, too.

I think the problem might be that the word “literary” is confusingly close to the word “literature”, which suggests that there may be some relationship between the two (other than that both involve reading, obviously). But to make that assumption presents a serious problem: it means that either you have a special limited genre only open to total geniuses, and less-than-perfect writers are not allowed to call their work literary, or you have a situation where free passes to the genius club are issued to anyone who writes literature… er, literary fiction.

Can you imagine a world in which only the most skilled writers were allowed to term their fiction romance, and anyone learning his or her craft who attempted a romance piece would be mocked and told to call it humour or just “other” instead? Or a world in which any science fiction story was automatically considered literature?

So, no. The literary genre does not somehow equal great literature.

Literary fiction does mean an emphasis on style, form and language. The literary voice is often distinctive. Story arcs in literary fiction are often more subtle than in other genres, and may appear in the form of a character arc, a moral or emotional arc that takes place within the protagonist. Does this make it automatically better or worse than any other? No. That would be down to the writer’s skill.

I don’t believe in a free pass for any genre, I don’t believe in a genre label that excludes the less-skilled, and nor does it make sense to me to deride any genre as a whole.

In my work for EDF, I read stories of every genre and style from writers of all skill levels, and there’s just one thing I know for sure – a good story is a good story, and when it grabs you and won’t let go, you don’t even notice the genre label.

Always Read The Contract 1 February 2011

Posted by Camille Gooderham Campbell in Advice For Writers.
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I just read a great blog post by Robert Swartwood. Go read it.

This is exactly why, when I talk to high school writing students, I always emphasize how important it is to read every contract, every time, even for respected and trusted publications. Especially when the publisher or the competition judge or the prize is extremely tempting and/or seems like a door you’d really like to have open for you, it’s easy to get so excited that you don’t do your due diligence stuff. But is any competition or publication so wonderful that you’d give away all your rights to a story forever?

Read the contract. Every time. And if you don’t understand the legalese, ask someone about it before you agree.

A Fascinating New Measure of Story Appeal 9 January 2011

Posted by Camille Gooderham Campbell in Uncategorized.

There are a variety of ways we can gauge how much any given story appeals to Every Day Fiction readership.

First of all, anyone who reads EDF knows about the star rating system. Underneath the story there are five clickable little stars; it’s the old scale-of-one-to-five, and while it isn’t a perfect system, it does overall give a general idea of how each story is received by our readers, especially when taken in the context of how many votes the story has received. For example, our all-time highest-rated story, “Snowman” by Shaun Simon, is currently at 4.5 stars with a total of 553 votes to date, and a newcomer to the top stories list, “Seventeen” by Virgie Townsend, is already at 4.3 stars and 78 votes less than a week after publication. By contrast, an average story is rated in the mid-3s with a vote count in the 40s.

Since we also allow reader comments on our stories, those are another measure of how a story is received by our readership. In some ways it gives a more accurate picture of a story’s appeal (or lack thereof) since the opinions and discussion tell us more than a simple star rating can, but at the same time, less people take the time to comment, and sometimes the comments and star ratings can present two different pictures — a mid-3s rating with lavish praise and “best story in a long time” type comments, or  a higher rating but comments full of nitpicks and debate. For us as editors, and for readers who follow the story comments regularly, there’s also a difference between from familiar commenters (our regular commenters who offer their opinions about many or most stories, and whose  preferences and pet peeves have become apparent over time) and unfamiliar commenters (who could be random newcomers to the site, friends of the author, or longtime readers who generally read without commenting). There are some downsides to allowing comments on the stories, but that’s a subject for another day, and in any case, many of our authors cite the reader feedback as one of the best things about EDF.

In addition to the star rating and comments, we can also track the number of reads a story gets. This is what you might call an invisible measure of the story’s appeal, tracked behind the scenes. It also isn’t an obvious measure of a story’s appeal or lack thereof, since the fact that someone navigates to the story’s page and stays there for more than a few seconds doesn’t necessarily mean the reader liked the story, but when a story’s reads spike up, that tells us that the story is spreading — and some of them really spread: “Darren Is Updating His Facebook Status” by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley has been read over 24k times, “The Only Difference Between Men and Boys” by Nicholas Ozment has been read over 57k times, and “Photographic Memory” by Nadia Jacobson has been read over 84K times. Readers blog, stumble and tweet about stories that catch their interest, so when a story starts to reach wide numbers of people, that’s a pretty strong measure of its appeal.

These three things are, to me anyway, old news. We’ve been following the comments and noting the number of reads for our stories since the beginning, and the star rating system was introduced shortly thereafter, early in our first year of publication. So it was particularly interesting for me to see a new measure of story appeal emerge.

Hello, Facebook. Yes, you can now “like” EDF’s stories on Facebook. At the bottom of each story, just below the star rating, there’s that little pale-blue thumbs-up “Like” button with the tiny darker blue Facebook “f” beside it — when the story is first published it exhorts you to “Be the first of your friends to like this” — and as time goes on it gives the number of “likes”.

I didn’t pay too much attention to it at first. “5 people like this.” “3 people like this.” “7 people like this.” Big deal, right? Occasionally a story gets no love and only has that lonely “Be the first of your friends…” message hanging on next to the button. And then I started noticing some slightly higher numbers. 16 people here. 42 people there. But it really hit home to me that this has value as a measure of the story’s appeal when I saw that “Seventeen” by Virgie Townsend had an unprecedented 75 “likes”. Yes, 75 people had told all of their Facebook friends and family and co-workers and ex-classmates and vague acquaintances and random strangers who friended them to play Farmville or Sorority Life that they liked this one little gem of a story.

And that is why it’s significant.

Because star voting is totally anonymous, and even leaving a comment on a story can be done with a pseudonym and in any case is only seen by readers who’ve already arrived at Every Day Fiction — it doesn’t infringe on any other part of the commenter’s world, and commenters can, if they wish, craft an online persona for the EDF community that is quite separate from anything else they do.

Social media, on the other hand, is your real life — when you click that “Like” button, you are telling your people, mostly (hopefully) actual friends whose good opinions you (presumably) cherish, that you’ve found a story worth reading. It’s not anonymous, it’s not about creating a persona, it’s not restricted only to people who are already up to their elbows in reading and writing.

So I’m watching those Facebook “Like” numbers. It’s fascinating to see which stories people are actually willing to tell their friends about.

A Sad Divide 13 December 2010

Posted by Camille Gooderham Campbell in Random Thoughts.

I’ll start right out by saying that I’m not going to name names or link to blogs or anything like that, because I’m not pointing fingers here – this is more a general commentary on the state of things in the publishing world, as underlined by a few things I’ve read recently on various blogs and sources of publishing news.

What I want to know is, why are we fighting each other?

The whole publishing industry is in flux right now. No one knows how things are going to roll out down the road, though it’s pretty clear that publishers (and agents and editors and writers) who refuse to change with the times are going to get left behind. All of us are trying to feel our way forward in a maze of shifting technology and access points that connect the writer to the reader.

In a world where any self-styled “editor” with internet access can set up a “magazine” or a “publishing house” (and any self-styled “writer” with internet access can self-publish his or her books), we are right to be cautious and use common sense, but sadly I have noticed an us-against-them mentality that I don’t like to see. Naturally when a publishing house is caught in wrongdoing, it should be brought to light and the writing community needs to be warned, but too many agents and writers seem to take the attitude that publishers in general are evil and out to get the poor good-hearted writers who only want to make a living, while too many publishers seem to feel that writers in general are greedy and want to grasp all they can and leave the poor broke publishers struggling to make ends meet. It’s ridiculous – no one goes into publishing or writing to get rich, so we must be in the game for the love, right? And if it’s for the love, why hate half the players?

I’m not saying that anyone should literally do it only for the love, as in, for free; it stands to reason that writers want to be paid something, and that everyone who supports the writing field (agents, reviewers, editors, publishers, book designers, publicists, agents, printers, web monkeys, you name it…) would like to make the odd dollar too. It also stands to reason that readers would prefer to read for free or at least as cheaply as possible, but that’s a whole other story. I just don’t understand why any writer chooses to see all publishers as the bad guys, or anyone who works in publishing chooses to see all writers as the bad guys. I don’t doubt that there are bad guys on both sides, sometimes, but it doesn’t justify all the negative attitude I’ve been seeing, especially when single isolated incidents are translated into industry-wide generalizations, and assumptions are made and disseminated without fact-checking or personal experience.

Seriously, it would suck to be a small starting-out publisher who wakes up tomorrow to find that a rising-star author whom you’ve never even met has pinpointed your fledgling house as something so pathetic that one is better off self-publishing. It would suck to know that the “token advance” you scraped together to attract your first writer wasn’t seen as good enough, that the pricing and and royalty spreadsheet that you’d painstakingly worked out so you could be sure of breaking even was being mocked, and that your presumed lack of big-game experience made you unworthy of even taking a shot.

Seriously, it would suck to be a cutting-edge literary author whose bold choice to self-publish led only to a trainwreck . It would suck to have listened to internet advice about how books should be priced rather than paying attention to your own mathematics and common sense, leaving you literally losing money on every book sold, and to have believed that “real bookstores” don’t take print-on-demand books and so committed to a print run that produced boxes and boxes of books whose pages curled and whose cover colour wasn’t what you’d wanted.

Seriously, it would suck to be an old-school editor downsized from a big traditional publishing house in this economy, maybe without the technical skills to compete, maybe in an age group where employers start to look at you as a liability. Or a brand-new graduate with a Master’s degree in publishing, answering phones or slinging coffee because there are no (paid) job openings in your field.

Seriously. This game is hard enough for everyone. Let’s not hate, ‘kay?

Picture Me Blinking In Astonishment 11 March 2010

Posted by Camille Gooderham Campbell in Hall of Shame.

Theoretically, writers who submit their work for publication want to hear back from the publisher.

So I was surprised, a while back, to come across a writer who had set up an email spam blocker that would only accept incoming mail from an approved list — our response to a query generated an auto-reply email asking us to click on a link and “fill out a short request form to be added to the list of approved senders”. The automated email noted: “I apologize for this one-time inconvenience”. Did we click on the link and fill out the short request form? No, we did not.

Ever since then, I have mentally enshrined that particular incident as the most counterproductive author communication effort possible. It couldn’t possibly be outdone — send a query, but make it impossible to receive the response without an extra step that involves clicking a link and filling out a form. Quite apart from it coming across as a phishing trip (you don’t know me! click this link! give me your personal information!), neither I nor any other editor that I know of has time to go around filling out little forms. Brilliant strategy for getting published? No. Gold star for total bemusement factor? Yes.

Today, I encountered something that rivals even that one.

The subject line of what was clearly an auto-response email read: “I am no longer communicating via e-mail”. In the body of the email, it said: “If you wish to get in touch, please write me at [snail mail address here]. My website, [website here], is still active and contains a list of my recent publications. Thank you!”

So, picture me blinking in astonishment. Gold star for arrogance in thinking that I’m seriously going to go get a stamp and send a snail mail letter. Welcome to my Hall of Shame.

Feeling the Love 18 February 2010

Posted by Camille Gooderham Campbell in Random Thoughts.

It’s been tough lately. EDF’s slush pile is mountains high, and the decisions ultimately come down to me. With nasty commenters lurking around every corner, hating every story and casting aspersions on my editorial skills and integrity, I was starting to doubt myself and second-guess every decision I made. 

The EDF team made a decision to crack down on nastiness in the comments, and that helped a bit, but my confidence was still seriously shaken.

And then I saw THIS. And then THIS. And I’ve been smiling all day.

When a story sticks in someone’s mind and speaks to him or her, when someone is compelled to re-read a piece two days later, when someone feels she or he would have been sorry to miss it… that story has done its job right. When I’ve had a hand in bringing that story to publication, when I was the one who said ‘yes’ to it, I know I’ve done my job right too.

None of this is even about me — it’s all about the stories and their authors — but I’m feeling the love anyway.

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