In July 2013, I served as the “editor-in-residence” for the Codex Writing Group, which meant basically I was asking a month-long AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) interview. With Codex’s permission, I’m re-posting the Q&As here on my blog. The questions were all provided by members of Codex.
Editors get familiar with certain names on submissions, and form opinions on who is getting close and who they hope will succeed. Do you also form negative opinions of writers who submit, and assume they’re never going to write something you like?
I’m sure editors do, on occasion. I have in the past…and then been proven wrong. I never GAVE UP on them, mind you, but I can certainly think of a few writers who I thought would never write anything I’d like. But I can think of a couple of occasions where I had rejected a ton of stuff by the writer only to then eventually find something I liked. In some cases, the writer turned some corner creatively and all of a sudden I like basically everything I’ve read since buying that first one; in other cases, I still don’t like most of what the author sends, but at least there was that one where we matched up.
I try to avoid forming that kind of negative association as much as possible as it serves no good purpose. Ultimately, though, I think the only writers at risk of that kind of thing are people who are extremely prolific. Like–if you reject a writer 50 times in a year, several years in a row, it would be really hard to not think it was hopeless. There’s probably also a greater risk when the editor is reading the slush him/herself, like when I was an assistant editor at F&SF.
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