This morning I read an article from The Missouri Review’s blog called “Three Ways to Improve the Editor-Writer Relationship.” The advice was helpful particularly the first piece: email writers and editors when their work moves you. I think letting people know that “hey this was great” is a wonderful way to build community and encourage writers (this may even be a News Years resolution for me). I’m not going to follow all the advice though—in particular number three, I just don’t see myself starting a magazine anytime soon. But the lack of relationships between editors and writers is something that I’ve been very much aware of recently.
Long ago, I learned that just because your work was rejected by a magazine that doesn’t mean you should stop submitting to them. Some of my favorite magazines have rejected me many times, and I hope they understand that the reason I keep submitting is because I love them.
However, I’ve recently realized that I don’t submit to magazine that have accepted my work. When I made this realization, I thought “That’s silly. Those places have already shown that they liked my work, I should submit again.” But I didn’t.
When writing the cover letters to these magazines, I suddenly became self-conscious of my formal tone—was I being insulting by not being more casual since they already accepted my work, or would I be acting entitled by assuming the previous publication put us on informal terms. Some may think this is silly, but I find conversation through technology particularly stressful. I hate making phone calls because I can’t see the other person’s a body language, and every email I write I imagine how the person receiving it reads it and must think I was being sarcastic. All this is with people I know. Now throw in the fact that when I’m contacting an editor, I’m basically communicating with a stranger, who I want to publish me and who knows that I want them to publish me, and I become frozen. It all comes down to the fear that they will dislike me, because I failed at some internet etiquette. Obviously, I’m over thinking this situation. I should just submit.
As you all obviously know, technology is changing how people connect and friendships run, and I can’t help but feel it is for the better. But Lord, I’m bad at this internet thing. I get so worried that I’ll stick my foot in my mouth, I often remain silent.