I hope you know that I value and am wholly committed to supporting other writers. I mentor several people, both formally and informally, and the role I play in the professional development of my mentees is something I take seriously.
But I’m sick and tired of writers who don’t take responsibility for themselves or their work and this is the salvo I’m issuing to them: I don’t wanna hold your hand.
Earlier this week, I received a pitch from a writer/photographer who included more than 40 links in his email and suggested he could write about a “variety of topics,” going on to list all of those topics. I have a decent attention span, but I was spent by the time I finished reading that message.
Not wanting to be rude, I replied that I’d be happy to consider a pitch if he could refine his approach by paring his query down to one or two specific ideas. I recommended he review our submission guidelines. I further requested that he do basic due diligence and check our archives to ensure that his query was a subject we hadn’t covered before or from the same angle he was proposing.
Hours later, he replies with two fistfuls of ideas (instead of one or two I’d requested) and the somewhat curt “Your archive function doesn’t work so I couldn’t check.” Major fail. One: You didn’t do what I asked. Two: The archive function DOES work. And I double checked it to be sure.
I’m sorry, but if you can’t follow basic instructions, I’m not interested in working with you.
The expectation that online publications will somehow be more flexible and more forgiving with respect to adhering to professional standards is just misguided. I’m not going to hold your hand. Approach with professionalism or don’t play the game.