5 Ways to Piss Off an Editor

Or, How to Make Sure Your Writing is NEVER Published

man typing on laptop next to dog

If you want to write for magazines, that editor is the gatekeeper. They’re in the way of your dream! So, who’s to say they should hold all the cards with complete impunity? Not you! You think it’s time they get theirs, right?

If so, here are five ways to piss off an editor...and keep your writing out of magazines, permanently.

Be Completely Clueless About the Magazine You’re Pitching

This is always a fun way to get back at that editor: don’t read the magazine!

Who has time for that, anyway? You've got a writing career to nurture, right?

So, instead of developing a deep understanding of the tone and content of your target publication, what you really should do is just match your article idea to a bunch of “potential” magazine matches, and then fire off a mass email. Editors totally love that! 

Concentrate on the Query, Not On Your Article Idea

An editor friend has this to say: “Freelancers worry too much about the ‘perfect query’ (which doesn't exist, by the way). I want to see them develop their ideas, not the perfect template query.

Look, to be honest, it doesn't matter how exemplary that query letter is—what matters to me is that your magazine article idea is spot on. If it is, I’ll take it, query be damned.” 

Aim for the Stars!

Hey, I know you just started venturing into the freelance writing world, but darn it, when you got it, you got it, right?

So, what you want to do is find the most read glossy magazine, and pitch a front cover, bust-up article to the top most editor, right away!

It doesn't matter if you don’t have clips or clients to back up your writing chops—who is that editor to tell you that you’re aiming too high? 

Let the Editor Do All the Work

Hey- you just generated a bomb story, right?

Your part is done. Now, the best thing to do is slam out a quick pitch, but leave the editor holding the bag when it comes to the details.

From an editor friend: "Writers never answer the questions for me! Have they thought about where in the magazine the story will fit? What department it might work in? What format or structure it might take? If they don’t bother, why should I?” 

Screw the Little People

The last way to get your name blacklisted by every magazine that hires freelance writers is also one of the most fun. Be sure to screw all the little people! I’m talking interns, secretaries, under editors and so on.

If you berate them when you call them, demand to be handed off to someone “with more authority” and ignore their unimportant little emails altogether, then you’re sure to keep them in their place, where they belong! 

Caveat: The above list is totally tongue-in-cheek. If you want to see your writing published in magazines, it’s probably best to do the complete opposite of these things.