Life after an Editor Calls You an Idiot


Dear Kate…

Gads. I hope Mr. Wilson was summarizing the sentiment of the letter, not quoting it. It’s hard to imagine an editor using such unprofessional verbiage with a writer. Kudos to Mr. Wilson for sticking it out and landing his agent… and a movie deal with Steven Spielberg (2013)! There’s sweet revenge, eh? Wilson’s was a “referral” submission and is quite common. As it should be—that’s called networking. Editors learn early in their careers how to respond to all kinds of referrals and rarely include accusations of idiocy. The best way to go about a referral is to have your friend contact the editor personally and ask if and how the submission could be made. This gives an editor who isn’t open to such submissions a chance to decline and provide agent names or submission hints, keeping everyone’s dignity intact.

Happy writing!
The Editor


  1. Boy, someone’s feathers were really ruffled that day! Wilson probably exaggerated the editor’s reaction. Your reply is great advice, Kate, and that’s exactly how I’m going to do it, with referral submissions. Thank you so much!

  2. All I can say is this,

    “Editors, if you want respect, please give it back.”

    Don’t make the few bad eggs make you go anal on writers who are just trying to find people who love our work a tenth as much as our writer’s group.

    This didn’t sound like someone being unfairly harassed. Lead by example. That’s all I’m saying.

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