Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Editorial Compatibilty

I was recently given a rather large box of old paperbacks. Most of them were things like Amazing, Fantastic, etc.

I enjoy George Scithers' run on Amazing a lot. (I have the privilege of having had a story accepted by him. Sadly, the publisher got into financial difficulties and the magazine it was supposed to be in lasted one issue. I was in issue two...)

Ted White's run on Fantastic? A slog I'm reading out of a bizarre sense of obligation.

Now, to be fair, Scithers won four Hugos as an editor, whilst Ted White's sole Hugo was Best Fan Writer. So, in theory, Scithers is the better...or at least more acknowledged...editor.

Truth is, that I just don't like the stories White chooses to run. And that's fine. Editorial compatibility - the measure of how much your tastes coincide with a specific editor - is an important thing to acknowledge as a writer. My husband loves Stanley Schmidt's Analog (He has yet to get to Trevor Quachri's run), but is strongly indifferent to Sheila Williams' Asimov's.

Paying attention to the editor will help you buy what you want to buy if you're shopping for periodicals or anthologies.

As a writer, you need to pay extra attention to the editor. Submitting to an editor who, like Ted White for me, buys absolutely nothing you like is a waste of time - because we all write what we like to read. It doesn't mean your work sucks. It just means you don't have editorial compatibility.

(And as a writer, there's little worse than selling a story to the publisher and then finding out you don't have compatibility with the person hired to edit it...)