Monday, 7 June 2010

The Subjective Art

Creativity is subjective. What works for one person, may not work for someone else. You may recall back in March I wrote a post about agreeing to rewrite a piece of text when an editor asks. ( In this post, I mentioned how I'd sold a short story to Australia, and now I was trying to sell it here in the UK. The UK editor had liked the story, but there were aspects he didn't feel were quite right and wanted the text rewritten.

Now, the short story had already been published in Australia, so the Australian editor didn't have a problem with it. But the UK editor did, so I rewrote the story, trying to clarify the points he found confusing. Sadly, upon taking a second look, that editor decided that the story still didn't work for him.

A few weeks later though, I heard that the editor at this publication had changed, so I submitted the same story to the new editor ... who bought it, and I've just banked the money today.

So, two different editors at the same publications made different decisions. What worked for one editor didn't work for another. We all have our personal likes and dislikes and editors are no different. In the past, I've successfully sold an article to the third editor at the same publication where the previous two editors had rejected it.

Next time you hear about a change of editor, consider resubmitting some of your previously rejected work. You never know - the new editor may like it.

Good luck.


  1. That is such good advice. I think sometimes we hold back on resubmitting things and, as you say, you never know. All editors are different.

  2. It isn't only a question of taste regarding editors' decisions to buy stories/ articles.
    I had been writing fairly regularly for an editor at a publication and one day he apologised that he could no longer take articles from me as he had lost his freelance budget.

    Two months later I heard he had been replaced by a new editor and thinking "nothing ventured nothing gained" I sent off a query.
    It was accepted and I've been writing and being paid ever since.
    So as you said - when there's a new editor don't assume any of the old rules apply.

  3. That's another great example, Ann. It just shows that the customer/supplier relationship we have as writers is actually writer/editor, rather than writer/publication!

    (And I'm all for 'nothing ventured, nothing gained'!

  4. It's also worthwhile resubmitting ideas to an editor who has switched to a competing publication - what wasn't right for him when employed at the first publication, may be right for him when employed at the second.

    It's good to keep in touch with editors once they've moved on, anyway. I've continued working for editors who've moved between titles - even when I've known very little about the subject of magazine number 2.


  5. Which raises the question: Who are we writing for? The editor or the reader?

    It seems that we have to get past the editor first.

    George Tregson Roberts

  6. Hi George

    The answer to your question is ... both!

    However, the editor knows what his or her readers want, so as long as what you write will please the reader, then it should please the editor too.