Douglas Cohen (douglascohen) wrote,
Douglas Cohen

Best Editorial Tale

So I was thinking about this one a little while ago, and I bet all the editors out there have at least one good anecdote regarding a run-in with a crazy author.  I'll go first, and I guess it's a tie between two incidents:

Incident # 1

I once rejected a story.  Months later I received a query from the author in my slush, wondering what became of his story.  So I checked my files and found a record of the tale.  I definitely sent out the rejection.  But the author failed to supply an SASE for my response, or even an email address.  So I didn't respond.

Skip ahead to months later once more.  This time I receive a very obnoxious letter from the author, demanding the return of his manuscript, complaining about the way we do business, and threatening to contact  the Better Business Bureau if his story was not returned to him at once.  Once again he failed to enclose an SASE for my response, or an email address.  You know, every once in a while the post office does lose stuff.  Heaven forbid this possibility should occur to him.  Anyway, I've yet to hear from the BBB ...

Incident # 2

I once came across a poem with accompanying artwork in the slush.  Realms of Fantasy doesn't publish poetry, and Shawna and I don't make the call on artwork.  Also, the address for artwork submissions is actually down in the publisher's office down in VA.  The submitter had failed to send an SASE, but this one did provide an email address.  Feeling generous, I decided to apprise him of the situation in polite and professional terms.

I then received an email from the author rejecting my rejection letter. :)   Meanwhile, this same author sent the exact same obnoxious email to Shawna, and that same day had also queried her literary agency regarding his novel.  Shawna responded with a polite email, telling that him that under the circumstances it would be best if the two of them didn't do business.  The author responded by sending her another email, asking if he could send along his novel tomorrow, after Shawna had a chance to "cool off."  Very classless, but a classy story nonetheless.

Anyway, to date these are the only two authors to make my Realms of Fantasy shit-list.   I could hate your guts as a person but I'll still give your submission a fair read if you follow the rules.  But both of these people crossed the line.  One of them threatened to contact the BBB (not that I ever felt threatened), and the fact that he should resort to threats was enough to make me say, "I don't need this."  The other dude was just a prick.  The important factor concerning the latter was that he was a prick in direct regards to the author-editor relationship about a submission of his to the magazine.  Big no-no. 

So what about the other editors out there?  Share with us the deepest neuroses of your submitters.  We all want a good laugh. :)  Use the names of these authors at your own discretion.
Tags: adventures in slushing

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