10 Things a Writer Doesn’t Want to Hear from an Editor

I’ll ask around to see if anyone’s seen your resume.

An interesting idea but another writer is working on something too much like it.

We did that story three months ago.

We’d look at it on spec.

Your piece didn’t make it into this issue but it might run by the end of the year.

We could run it on the website and pay you $25.

We had to trim 20 inches at the last minute and there wasn’t time to contact you.

When I said we pay a dollar a word, that’s a dollar a published word.

The headline has to grab the reader and it can’t be too subtle.

They’re telling me checks should be in the mail next week.

Please send along other things editors say that writers really don’t want to hear.


  1. We are using your story, but as a sidebar to another one–could you cut 1200 words?
    Can you call and see if they have pictures? Have them sent to you at high res, then send them to us.
    We have reporters–but wil pay you a $50 idea fee (OPRAH does this)
    I don’t have anything to do with accounting and I think that person is in Europe.
    Our factchecker is from Harvard–where did YOU go to school?
    Can you find someone who will say XYZ?
    We don’t have room–but we will pay the $25 kill fee if you want.
    This is what we assigned, but do you think you could redo it?
    Please find new sources–these are not members of our association.
    I dunno–it just doesn’t work for me.

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