Writers, especially freelance writers, cannot be too thin skinned if you want to become a successful well-paid writer. In general, editors are there to help you and to help improve the circulation of their publication. To that end, they have to critique the articles and submissions they receive.
Having said that, remember, editors are people too and they come in all different types flavors and personalities.
A recent experience
Over the past week I posted a few articles to my account on Suite 101.com. Two of the articles generated comments from the editors. In essence, both comments (from two different editors) were basically saying the same thing. I did not select the most appropriate title taking into consideration search engine optimization and keywords. However, the way in which they went about wording their critiques were worlds apart.
Editor #1 “Mr. Nice Guy” (the names have been changed to protect the innocent) wrote the following:
Hi Felicia, This is so close to being perfect, that I’ve been a bit picky, and highlighted some stuff that could be seen as an optional extra. In fact, you’ve picked some great keywords, but they’re not included in the title or sub-headings to the extent that would generate more traffic. I’ll leave the fact that the title is in first person, because I actually believe that it is best like that. Keep up the great writing.
Editor #2, hmmm, lets call her “Ms. Not so Nice” wrote the following:
this will sound harsh, but your subtitle means nothing to readers and search engines. For online pieces, you must be detailed, literal and use lots of keywords. Your current subtitle is too short, lacks keywords and context, and is vague. – your subtitle could also be longer and needs more keywords and context. – your lead paragraph is missing end punctuation/ – subheadings must be in title case. Thanks.
Notice the capitalization and sentence structure of Ms. Not so Nice’s comments?
Pick and choose your battles
Being the mature level headed individual that I am who has on occasion been on the receiving end of a few comments from editors, I don’t take it personally. It’s a means by which I earn money; it is not my personal validation. As a result, I let the less than professional tone roll off my back, make the necessary modifications and I go on my merry way.
A problem would arise, however, if I decided to complain, argue and take the critique personally. Not only would it waste my time, but it would create so much negativity. There’s enough negativity to go around, why create more. No need to waste my time, my energy and build bad karma.
As a freelance writer, occasions may arise when you actually know more than your editor does. But don’t wear that as a badge of superiority. Just be thankful that that person is only your editor and not your spouse. You can modify the submission and go on with your life, but if you were married to the editor, well, that’s a whole different story.
Keep your eyes on the prize
My rule of thumb when dealing with the various editor personalities is to focus on my goal and not to allow their personality stop me from reaching my goals.