I’ve been publishing for a long time and I’ve dealt with all kinds of editors. Some are laid back. Some are very hands-on. Some are hard to pin down. Some are extremely helpful and supportive. And a few–very few–are difficult or even opaque. They tell you one thing but mean something completely different that you couldn’t have guessed at.
Here’s what happened a few years ago with one of those.
I pitched an idea to a magazine about the farkakteh theory that Shakespeare was a Jewish woman (yes!), which is just another bit of nutty Shakespeare Denialism that’s been a flourishing industry for way too long. James Shapiro wrote an entertaining book about it: Contested Will.
Then he sent back my blog and basically told me that it had to be completely rewritten. But that wasn’t all: he thought it should be re-shaped to say what he wanted, which was bizarre, since in our previous emails, he’d never told me any of his opinions. If he had, I would have gone elsewhere.
Was I annoyed? Of course. I’d been publishing dozens of articles, essays, short stories, and books for years and dealing with editors who were much more professional than that. Except for one, “and thereby hangs a tale….”
I sent the piece to The Huffington Post. They took it right away, beginning my long relationship with that site. I waited till the blog was posted and wrote back to the first editor that I was sorry he didn’t like my approach, but someone else did.
I included the link.
Sometimes revenge isn’t just sweet, it’s swift. This time it was so swift that it wasn’t even worth saving the editor for a character to put into my Nick Hoffman mystery series–appropriately disguised, of course. I just brushed it off.