Since October of 2014, I have been attempting to get my work published by online magazines. I was not only looking for pub credits and some acknowledgement that I may have a little skill, but also looking for experience in the professional world that will aid me as I move forward with my WIPs.
I knew that in submitting my work to various magazines and websites that if accepted, my stories would be subject to editorial changes. Some websites said explicitly that they would make any changes they felt necessary and you could take it or leave it, others were more flexible.
And I found that I enjoy going through the editing process with a qualified professional. In some part it is because when my work is accepted it comes with an applauding email stating my success, followed by the site’s editor’s critical feedback.
I recently went through four email exchanges with an editor from 101 Words as we polished off a simple story containing–you guessed it–one-hundred-and-one words.
The editor was polite and precise about the changes she thought would make the story better, and it wasn’t all grammatical stuff, there was content editing as well. I remember reading her initial email and saying to myself, “Wow, there’s a lot of changes in there.” At first I was hesitant to make such drastic changes because after all, only I know the characters and what they’d say and how they’d react.
I sent the editor a response thanking her for her guidance and told her I was a little overwhelmed with her desired changes. (The story in particular was a little more poetry than prose, so I was leaning heavily on style, which I don’t normally do.)
The editor was patient and told me her edits were only suggestions, not mandatory. At this I let out a sigh, shut my computer, and came back a few days later. What I was able to hammer out was a nice little compromise between her suggestions and my original intent. And what a surprise, I actually liked the new version better! Who knew you could spend so much time on one-hundred-and-one words, right?
Any-who, I guess the intent of this post is to put it out there for writers just thinking of getting into the e-pub business, that working with an editor can be very enlightening. The editors care about your work because your work in their magazine reflects their style and has the ability to bring in more readers. There will be instances were an editor’s suggestions are mandatory, and that publication depends on you accepting their changes, but this is not always the case. Once you establish a working relationship with an online magazine or blog they may also come to trust your writing skills better and the two of you can work together to everyone’s satisfaction.
*The story I worked on for 101 Words will be published on their site March 9, 2016. I’m very proud of this particular piece of flash fiction and I will post a link to the site the day it’s released.