Open Letter to an Unnamed Editor

By: Carol Hind – Lady Cee

“I would rather be accused of breaking precedents than breaking promises.” ~John F. Kennedy


Hello dear editor,

Yes, you (who shall remain nameless!).

Remember me?

Of course not!

Why would you remember me?

After all, I am just one of many, possibly even hundreds of hopeful wannabe writers eager to be published, who crossed your pathway.

Never mind the fact that you actually wrote acknowledging my contribution to a prayer book you were compiling, which The Times intended to publish. Never mind the fact that you had even indicated you would like to use my contribution.

So what happened?

Do you know how much joy your response evoked in this wannabe writer? Do you have any idea how affirmed this writer felt at having her work acknowledged by an editor of an illustrious publication, along with a professed interest in using the same? Do you?

I guess not!

I’d hate to think that you were just cold, dispassionate and uncaring, so I choose to believe that the pressure of deadlines and volume of workload prevented you from responding to my follow-ups.

You see, I’d heeded expert advice and did not chase or hound you. I kept looking at your letter to see whether, in my enthusiasm, I’d misunderstood your meaning. I read your words again and again and again. I read them at face value, and I read between the lines. But no, dear editor, I had not misunderstood. There, in black and white, was your decision to use my piece.

So, of course, dear editor, you can understand why I began to feel perplexed. I hope that you appreciate or at least, understand, my sense of panic that the satisfaction of an editor publicly validating my writing ability, plus the chance of publication, seemed about to slip through my fingers.

Of course, I wasn’t about to let such an opportunity go without a fight, even if that fight was just a polite letter of inquiry sent some months following your promising response. And I certainly didn’t want a failure to follow-up on the matter, to create any misunderstanding. After all, you could misconstrue my lack of communication as a lack of enthusiasm or lack of interest on my part.

So, when my polite inquiry met with complete silence, you cannot imagine how concerned I felt about you. Had you fallen seriously ill? Had you passed away? I mean, there’s just no way a reputable journalist from a respectable broadsheet would ignore a justifiable query, is there?

Surely the same such individual would not blatantly ignore a potential contributor to her book project? I mean, apart from excellent customer service, doesn’t a straightforward and polite query merit an appropriate response?

Even an undesirable “thanks – but no thanks” would have been less painful than your utter silence.

And yet dear editor (I use this term of endearment loosely), it seems that I was mistaken. It appears that when one has reached a certain height within the publishing echelon, common courtesy is no longer required. 

It seems that once one has earned a coveted seat in the publishing pecking order, specific individuals believe it grants them a license to trample upon the dreams and feelings of bright-eyed novices who are doing their level best to ascend that grand stairway to publishing success.

I’ve never forgotten you, dear editor.

Just as one never forgets their first betrayal of love, your shabby treatment, will always be remembered. Do you know your name sprang to mind just like that? Amazing!

What a shame that the things I genuinely wish to recall don’t come to mind quite so quickly (such as brilliant writing ideas I’ve been too lazy to record!).

I wonder how you are doing now, Ms. Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless? I wonder whether you are still out there somewhere, dishing the dirt to writing hopefuls and squashing the dreams of bright-eyed contributors. I wonder, can you even recall how it feels, to be a fledgling writer, trying to negotiate those unfamiliar paths toward publishing success?

I will never understand why you reneged on your word, but I did try to find a reasonable explanation for why you treated me the way that you did. I wondered, could it be that you were merely handing on the baton of cold indifference that you received way back in your writing past?

If so, did you think it your duty to pour cold water upon my aspirations? Did you feel it was incumbent upon you to toughen-up this writing novice? If so, I’m not sure that your strategy worked.

But never mind – no doubt you succeeded with others who crossed your path. Perhaps you were fortunate to meet up with rookie writers, who had the skin of a rhinoceros and the sensibilities of a wooden pole.

In case you are reading this, and a smidgen of guilt happens to prick your soul, allow me to update you about my progress.

Although I felt hurt, I managed to gather up my bruised self-esteem and crushed aspirations, and I tramped o’er hill and dale within the writing and publishing community, seeking opportunities to showcase my ability.

And do you know, I even became an editor myself?

Oh yes! I joined a team of volunteer editors for Magnet Magazine, a Methodist Church publication. 

And, I’ll have you know that throughout my tenure, I tried to be exemplary in my behaviour towards potential contributing writers. If material submitted met with our requirements, then I wrote confirming this and honoured my word by using it. And if submissions didn’t cater to our needs, they were politely declined.

It doesn’t take much – just a willing heart and a consideration of other people’s feelings. Oh, by the way, there’s a glowing reference on LinkedIn about my 5-year stint at Magnet – in case you’re interested!

You might want to know, dear editor, that I recently self-published my own prayer book. Ironic, that you accepted it, then passed on it and I published it. Click To Tweet

I doubt from your past conduct that you’d be interested in reviewing it, but just in case I’m wrong, please don’t hesitate to visit Amazon and see for yourself that Petitions from my Heart: A Scriptural Guide for Effective Prayers is published. 

So long, dear editor. I’m glad I’ve finally been able to get all that off my chest.

And I’m so grateful for editors of the ilk of those at Two Drops of Ink, who are warm, caring and considerate. You could learn a lot from them!

Signed: Ms. All-Is-Forgiven
of Self-Publishing Glory, UK


Bio: Carol Hind (LadyCee)

Carol describes herself as a God-seeker and recovering perfectionist. She’s also a word-artist, although her husband often refers to her as a word-junkie! She loves reading and words, and is fascinated by and admires how skilled writers use them.

Before she became a blogger, she failed to apply herself to the joys of writing and publishing consistently, despite always declaring that writing is her passion!

Longing to join the ranks of published authors, she has finally accomplished that goal with Petitions From My Heart: A Scriptural Guide for Effective Prayers.

She continues to write, which encourages and inspires her, and hopefully, through her writing, she persuades other writers to maximize their potential and live the best life possible. 




Published posts on Two Drops of Ink


    • Wow! What an unexpected surprise! I thought I’d stop by to see whether there were any more comments but had not expected to see that.
      Thank you so much Michelle. 😁😊😃
      I trust you will enjoy reading it and also find it a useful resource.
      Oh my word! God bless you. I appreciate your support.

  1. Hello Terry,
    Thank you for reading my post and taking the time to respond with your comment.
    It was a discouraging first experience of dealing with an editor but I went on to work with and deal with other editors including Marilyn and Scott who have been generous in allowing me to share my writings.
    BTW it was not a book of poetry but a book of prayers.

  2. Hi Lady Cee – you captured so well the agony the we writers sometimes feel at the hands of some editors. That does not happen here as you well know. Both Marilyn and Scott embody all that one could ask or hope for in an editor – skilled and knowledgeable, yet compassionate and kind. It was always an honor as well as a pleasant experience from beginning to end anytime I was given the opportunity to write here at Two Drops.
    I’m so sorry you’ve had that experience you did with the editor you submitted to – BUT – Look at You! You went on to write and publish your OWN book of poetry! Congratulations!!

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