Tuesday Ten: Ways to Irritate an Editor

This list is compiled from years of conference-going, listening to editors and agents bemoan the tactics that writers-at-large use to gain their attention. And, in a way, these things work. You gain attention…


…just not the kind of attention you want!

Hope you enjoy :~)

Things Not to SAY to an Editor/Agent

  1. I will call next week to see how you liked my manuscript.
  2. Hope you enjoyed the glitter confetti.
  3. My mother/children/class loved it!
  4. You only think I should make that change because you don’t understand.
  5. This is the next Twilight!
  6. This is the next Harry Potter!
  7. This book will appeal to all audiences.
  8. I’m submitting this to you because I really loved novel X (which hasn’t, actually, been released yet.)
  9. Dear Mr. Green…when “Mr. Green” is actually “Ms.”
  10. I know you don’t usually publish children’s books, but….

Things Not to DO to an Editor/Agent

  1. Show up at their office unexpectedly.
  2. Call when you don’t have a relationship.
  3. Call when you DO have a relationship—for the forty-seventh time that week.
  4. Cry.
  5. Throw your plate of spaghetti at them for rejecting your perfect prose.
  6. Slide your manuscript under their hotel room door.
  7. Corner them in the bathroom.
  8. Send them gifts (unless, of course, those gifts involve chocolate.)
  9. Send them a manuscript signature required (or postage due!)
  10. Drop off your laptop to force them to read your manuscript, so that they have to call the bomb squad.

Mug-Whiney Writer-How not to pitch your ms no. 42
In case you’re wondering, yes, I believe that all of these things have actually happened! Makes ya want to go out there and hug an editor today, right?
Although maybe that’s not a good idea, either. Unless you know them :)
PS: The picture shown to the right is “How Not to Pitch” from Anna-Maria Crum, and it’s on my coffee mug. Just in case I forget!

The hidden price of "productivity" every writer needs to know - www.cherylreif.com

You’ve probably read the same tips I have: Have a smart phone? Check Facebook while standing in line at the post office! Respond to Twitter messages while waiting for your dentist! Catch up on your news feed while sitting on the pot! For years, I thought the path to increased productivity was to squeeze in MORE–more […]


  1. Christine Rains says

    Ha! Great list. I needed that laugh today.

  2. E.R. King says

    Hehehe, your "don't list" made me chuckle. Thanks for the laugh.

  3. Jess says

    These are hilarious~ thanks for the laugh!

  4. Cheryl Reif says

    Hi, all! Yeah, made me laugh, too–and then you made me smile all over again with your comments :). Happy writing today!

  5. Cortney says

    Excellent list, and the picture alone made me laugh! But I was going through, reading each one and being like, man, I hope I don't do these! 😛

  6. Sarah Pearson says

    Heck, I may have to rethink my strategy 😉

  7. Margaret Telsch-Williams says

    Love this! Helps us all remember to stop cornering editors in bathrooms and crying while we throw pasta at them. ;o)

  8. Maria says

    Glitter Confetti! That's brilliant!

  9. says

    Where’s the list? I keep clicking on “more” and nothing happens. It’s a nice visual, but I don’t understand blogging platforms that make it impossible to access content.

    • Cheryl Reif says

      Hi Anne–I’m so sorry! Somehow I managed to delete half the post–thanks for letting me know. It’s back, now 😛

  10. says

    Thanks for letting me know it was fixed. I think WordPress may be having a hissy fit today. Yours isn’t the only one with a problem. Very funny post!

  11. says

    This book will appeal to all audiences – smile! It’s so tempting to dream that though, isn’t it?

    • Cheryl Reif says

      Absolutely!! Well, for some of us there’s an exception, right?

  12. says

    This is a great list!

    I have no worries about the things not to do, but a couple of the things not to say concern me. I could certainly be tempted to say number 1 — hopefully, I will catch myself before uttering such words. Regarding number 4, I have definitely thought that, but so far I have not voiced it. Regarding the other 8 items, I can safely avoid them.

  13. says

    I must confess… I read with bated breath, hoping I wouldn’t discover something I shouldn’t do ever again. Fortunately, all my goofs must be decorating a different list.


  1. […] Ten Ways to Irritate an Editor or Agent is both funny and true. The article includes ten things not to SAY and ten things not to DO. Some of the ideas sound far out, but I’ve actually heard of most of them happening. […]