Articles on Writing

Focusing on the Right Career

Effective immediately, Scienda Editorial will be taking work only from a core selection of existing clients. Specifically, if you have worked your way to reputable traditional or self-publication, if I told you I love your book(s), and if you and I have had an awesome working relationship in past, my business goal is to focus on you. Because yours is the career I’m passionate about.

But unless you have a personal relationship with someone in my preferred clients list who can recommend you, or are someone on that list, I’ll have to regretfully decline your business.

While I’m here, I should perhaps clear up a common misconception: Competent editors don’t need writers enough to need the wrong clients. Those of us who excel at our jobs have no problem finding good working relationships, and we run a slush pile.

True fact: The slush pile is not a gatekeeping conspiracy (I’m a freelancer, not a gateway). It’s a real thing involving writers who aren’t yet competent to enter the working relationships they’re seeking. Including a relationship with a freelance editor. Including a self-published relationship with readers.

That’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s just a place, like every other place on the journey.

There are other tools that come before editors and agents: Classic craft manuals, critique groups and one-on-one critique partnerships are top of the list. So are the better-quality writing blogs, to some extent, although the fragmentation of information poses a distinct issue to keep in mind. (And that’s your free advice for today. Pro Tip: Remember to say thank you instead of “I spit upon your holier-than-thou wrongness, cretinous editorial villain!” It distinguishes you very quickly from the wrong clients.)

So. Please understand me, because it’ll benefit you when you cold-query someone else who does take cold queries:

The preliminary interview process is not you picking the editor while the editor bids for your money because surely s/he must need you. It’s both of us picking each other because we have mutually compatible needs and goals.

That’s how contracting works, and not only in this industry. Look for people who understand enough to handle it that way, and be that person yourself.

For the last several months, I haven’t had time to sort the slush pile of largely unqualified and undesirable queries. These are unusually blunt things for me to have to say, and I dislike having to do so. However, with far too much questionable behaviour arriving via cold query lately, in addition to the time burden of sorting the pile, it’s well past time for me to close the big door.

(The smart readers among you are having a light bulb moment about agents right now, by the way. If this is what the freelance editor says, how much more… yep. You got it. Now, respect it. It’ll take you much farther.)

There’s still the little door. If we’ve had a good working relationship before, I’ll be delighted to hear from you. And if you have a friend whose work stands out to you as particularly strong, I’d be happy to consider helping, should it turn out to be mutually agreeable.

Best to you all, in whatever place you are on the journey.

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2 replies »

    • “I had an image of a cat sitting on the other side of a small door that said ‘Mice enter here.’”

      See, that’s how I know I did my job right with you. 😛 All the writers I’ve actually helped, curse me even as they thank me. It’s my badge of achievement. 😀

      As to scifi writers, may you in particular go far. In a good, careerish way, I mean. Not like far far away.

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