Editors Who Treat Writers Like Their Time is Worthless

EDIT: (on 30 August 2022) I have now being given a date the article will be published. I will update again after payment is made.

SECOND EDIT: (25 October 2022) I finally recieved payment today.

So to summarise: I sent the requested edits near the end of May, the article was published at the beginning of September, and I was paid near the end of October.

As writers, most of us have come across editors (and other people) who seem to think a writer’s time is somehow worth less than their own. I’m not talking about the usual rejections and lack of responses, though that can be annoying, but understandable with the amount of submissions they get.

I’m talking about one specific experience which may be the most time I’ve had wasted as a writer. This began with a pitch to The Sun. Yes, not everyone’s favourite newspaper, I know, but a great credit to add to any writing CV, no matter your political views.

I proposed an article about spending a week using the Too Good to Go App, and whether this would result in reducing how much I spent on food. They accepted, and I got to work immediately, and submitted the article a few days before the tight deadline.

If anyone has experience using this app, especially if you don’t have a car, you will know this took a lot of time. It wasn’t just the time spent going to collect the food. I had to plan around days and times I would be passing through certain areas, especially as I work from home and don’t need to travel very often. Then I had to frequently check the app, as the food from these places can be listed at random times and be sold out within minutes.

This was on top of keeping notes on my food haul, taking pictures, the actual writing of the article and editing it. I was excited though and thought this would look great on my CV, possibly helping me get more freelance work, either with The Sun or other publications.

I didn’t hear anything for a few weeks, but sent a short email just asking for confirmation. I get it. They are busy people and have more work to do than just dealing with me. It doesn’t hurt to make sure the editor you’re dealing with has received your work though, and takes them less than a minute to say, “yes we have and we will be in touch”.

The response basically said as much, so I waited. Then at 16:24 on a Friday, one of the two people I had been dealing with got back to me and asked for edits by the end of the weekend. I thought this was a bit short notice, but I didn’t complain. I cancelled my weekend plans and did what she asked. I sent this across on the Sunday afternoon.

Then…… nothing!

Absolutely nothing.

I hate to be one of those writers who pester editors all the time, but I’ve already mentioned this was a lot of work.

So, I waited a few weeks and sent a polite enquiry into whether either of them had received the edits I sent across.

Again, nothing.

A few more weeks later and I emailed them saying I had another pitch, which I did, and asking if I should wait until they got a chance to look at the edits I had sent. I didn’t want to pester them, but hoped this would be a gentle push to at least confirm they received them while answering my question about the new pitch I wanted to send across.

You’ve guessed it. I got no response, other than the out of office response from one of the two women saying she was on holiday. This was fair enough, but I couldn’t help feeling a little annoyed that the other woman didn’t respond in her absence. I waited until she was back and still heard nothing, so I emailed explaining that due to the information (prices, etc) in the article it would soon be outdated and asking them to confirm whether they still wanted the article. I also said if I didn’t hear in a month (as in a simple yes or no, I wasn’t saying they should publish the article by then) I would need to send it somewhere else because of the work I put into it.

The silence was deafening.

I’m now sending the article around, but I’m not holding out much hope. Most publications want a pitch they can help to develop, rather than a fully written article. I was a bit reluctant to write and post this blog because I don’t like to name and shame, and didn’t want legal threats. Although, I have emails from them, and unanswered emails I sent, which are now saved in my email account and these confirm everything I am saying here.

Hopefully, it makes someone out there realise that this is a shitty way to treat people, not just writers, but anyone. Most people are busy, but to have someone do the work, then change your mind and ghost them is never acceptable. I wasn’t even offered a *kill fee or given an apology for wasting my time.

(*For non-writers, a kill fee is when an editor decides not to publish an article they previously agreed to, but pays a smaller fee than agreed to appease the writer for the work they have done, leaving the writer able to publish somewhere else, if they can find someone who wants a pre-written article.)

News: The ALCS Election and My New Writing Book

I have a couple of pieces of news I want to share.

The first is my nomination for the ALCS board.

For those of you who don’t know, ALCS (Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Agency) pays royalties to authors from secondary rights – such as photocopying and library borrowing. I’ve had several payments from them over the past few years, from my books (the written work and the graphics in them). I probably earn more through being a member of ALCS than I do from sales of my books.

So, when the email arrived to put myself forward for election, I thought it would be a great way to give back, and I think it’s important to have new experiences. The idea of attending meetings, and getting to learn and contribute to helping other writers is an exciting challenge for me. I’m not sure I’ll be voted in. I’m competing against over twenty others, all with far more experience than me, but it never hurts to try.

If you would like to vote for me, (you have to be an ALCS member) you can follow the link in the email ALCS have sent out to members. Everyone has a unique code to access the voting page, so there’s no point in me posting the link here.


The second piece of news is my short non-fiction booklet on writing. What Do I Know? answers several questions about writing and publishing, and briefly talks about copywriting and dealing with requests for unpaid sample tests. I’m pleased to be able to share my experiences in writing and publishing, going back to 2014, when I first self-published a book and had no idea what I was doing.

The book doesn’t claim to contain expert knowledge, but is a summary of many of the things I learned. Back then, I relied on Amazon Kindle, before creating a paperback (also through Amazon). I didn’t realise the other options which were available to an author looking to self-published their books.

I struggled with marketing, and still do. As I said, this isn’t an expert guide. However, the book tells you some of the ways I learnt to market myself as an author.

I think people will already know some of the answers given, but there is probably something you will learn. It’s about sharing knowledge which took me 7 years to learn. I come across questions on Facebook all the time about marketing, finding publishers and more. So, If I can help someone reduce that learning time, it’s worth the time it took me to put the book together.

You can find it here.

This book is also part of my twelve projects in twelve months. I have set my co-written book, The Snow Was All We Could See for pre-order. So, I only have one more left to go, then I will have completed my self-set challenge.

The books I’ve completed all different, so if you’re not interested in reading a book on writing, you still might find one of my books completed during this challenge will interest you.

Finding Something to Write About in Lockdown


Before lockdown, writers who had other jobs struggled to find the time to write. Now, many of those who are off work may still be struggling, but for different reasons. There is more time, but it’s harder to concentrate. So, if you no longer have to go to work, or even if you do, how can you make the most of whatever time you have spare each day?

Stop trying to write for a while

If you need inspiration, sitting in front of your laptop and staring at a blank screen is unlikely to provide that. There may be times when you have to sit there for a while as you wait for your brain to cooperate, yet you need to give yourself something to work with.

Lockdown can limit where we get our inspiration from. If you go online, everyone is talking about the same thing. That might explain why so many writers have written something inspired by the pandemic and the lockdown. That’s fine, it makes a great outlet and can help you to process and cope with everything. I’m even publishing some of my lockdown poems, but that doesn’t mean people will want to read them.

You’ll want to write something else eventually. So talk to friends and family, even if it’s just on the phone or over Zoom. Watch your favourite TV show or discover a new one. Go for a walk, if you don’t have any health conditions that put you in the at-risk group. Read a book or listen to a song. Inspiration can come from something a friend says to you, a line in song or song, something you see outside or something in TV show. That doesn’t mean you should plagiarise someone else’s work. Just use the idea as a starting point and turn it into something completely different.

Should I change my work in progress to include the pandemic?

This is a question I’ve seen people ask and some writers have stopped what they were writing, or feel like they have to go back and rewrite it to include recent events. Obviously, what you write is up to you. However, reading is a form of escapism, so many people won’t want to read a fictionalised version of what is happening right now. Another thing to consider is how much time it takes to write, edit and publish. For me, if I continue with any of the novels I’ve already started on, it could take between six and eight months to complete and publish one of them, longer if I try to get a publisher instead of self-publishing it myself. I’m not saying life will be like it was by then, but I hope things will be better than they are now. Also, it’s fiction, so it doesn’t have to guess the future. You can create your own fictional future and provide an escape for yourself while writing it, which may help you to write the world the way you want it to be.

Join workshops

I’ve attended some online workshops. If you join writing groups on social media and ask around, you should be able to find some.

I’ve not written anything I can submit to publishers or journals from this, but it has helped to keep me writing, and I’ve been inspired by the other writers. If nothing else, you get to (virtually) meet with other writers. I’ve found it more of a social experience than the virtual spoken word nights I’ve attended.

Still finding it difficult?

Writing anything might seem difficult at the moment, but take it in bite-size sessions. Start with half an hour a day, or even ten minutes if that’s too much. Write whatever comes to mind. It might be nonsense, but just set a timer and write until you’re out of time, Read through it later. Looks for a line, or a few words that could inspire to write something. Then use that to create a poem or the beginning of a short story. You can even use dreams to get ideas for a poem or story. If you keep a notebook by your bed, you can jot down any dreams you have and use those as inspiration. Many people are having bizarre dreams at the moment. In another blog post, I’ll be sharing a short story I wrote, inspired by one of my bizarre dreams.

Finding Creativity During Lockdown


I’m not going to claim it’s easy being creative during lockdown. There are the distractions of constant updates coming through on social media and through my phone; more deaths, more government negligence … the list goes on.

However, it helps to look back at what you have done during this time and that is what I’m doing here. At the start of lockdown, I was panicking over losing at least 80% of my paid work, not been eligible for any benefits or grants and generally worrying about my basic survival. Those are big enough distractions, even without the pandemic and lockdown going on in the background.

This morning I found out the audio book version of my novel “Not Human” had gone online. To be fair, I didn’t do much work on this during lockdown. Most of the work was done before and it was a case of waiting for the files to be approved and to be sent to the online retailers. I’m still counting it as an achievement though, especially as it’s my first audiobook.

While I was waiting for this to be approved, I began working with a talented narrator from Canada to adapt my “Ghost of Me” book. I’m now working with her on the changes for that and hopefully, it should be available to buy within the next few months.

Once I accepted that panicking about financial matters wouldn’t improve them, I went back to an unfinished project and completed it, as part of a challenge set by a Facebook Group I’m in. The project was a choose your own adventure book about a writer who does everything wrong. It pokes fun at things that some writers do wrong and at the publishing and book promotion process in general. Working to complete it by a set date, gave me something to focus on and I enjoyed putting it together and creating the images to go with it.

As I usually do NaPoWriMo in April, I decided not to change that this year. Predictably, over half of the poems were about lockdown either directly or indirectly. I applied to a project, pitching the idea of a chapbook of lockdown related poems. While they haven’t sent me a rejection yet, I plan to self-publish the book later this month if they turn me down. I hope it will help others and they will be able to relate to at least some of it.

So, during lockdown I’ve brought out an audiobook, have another of the way and have short booklets coming out. It’s not so bad when I think of it that way. I’m not suggesting anyone starts and/or completes several projects during lockdown, but having at least one project to focus on might help. Even spending half an hour a day on something can quickly build up over time and before you know it, you’ll have a finished piece of work, or at least the solid start of something. It’s not easy, but trying to create something is much better than getting stressed about things you have no control over. I’ve started using a mindfulness app and listening to Forrest sounds on Spotify. Find whatever helps you feel less stressed and overwhelmed by everything.



Please see the links below (which will be added as they become available) if any of my books I’ve mentioned interest you.


Not Human – Audible link

(Also available on Amazon and iTunes)


You can get a free digital copy of How to Write Wrong: A Choose Your own Adventure Story, from Booksprout in exchange for a honest review. You can be also pre-order a copy on Kindle for just 79p.

Always Darkest Before Dawn: A Collection of Poems from Lockdown can be pre-ordered on Kindle for just 80p

Why the Arts are Important: A Guest Post by Anthony Briscoe

The following is a guest post by Anthony Briscoe, in response to this article (about the decline of arts subjects in schools)




I find it a boring trope that the arts are not important to a child’s education. I think that is fundamentally false. For example, I have dyslexia, something I have found in common with several people in the arts (and other professions). Dyslexia isn’t just not being able to read or write; like many things, it is a spectrum. It mainly affects the way the brain understands sequences and how an individual’s brain decodes those into action (cognitively or physically, hence its often close association with dyspraxia).

I find spelling difficult at times and written communication can be sometimes also be a difficulty (depending on its structure and rules, such as an essay as opposed to a poem). Of course, I’ve gotten better with age and practise, but as a child it was a huge hurdle. I found it a struggle to understand why I couldn’t do what others could do properly. I was getting told off for not spelling correctly or my writing being a little squiffy. Not only did it affect my confidence, but it also became a frustration. Why couldn’t I do what others seemed to find so simple? I remember how that felt.

I started becoming a bit despondent in class. Information didn’t seem to sink in, I couldn’t exactly write notes or anything, and still struggle a bit today. However, I was introduced to art lessons and school plays, craft etc, then things just clicked. Suddenly, I understood. The creative process helped my brain take in information and with support from my parents and school, I managed to use creativity and the arts to help bridge the gaps in my learning. I still use the techniques I used then, today. Often, I draw when listening to a lot of information, as it helps me take it all in and I can remember what I was hearing at the time, by looking at the picture. The arts have given me so much; confidence in myself, determination and made want to learn and do more with my education and life (it fills several sections of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; physiological, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualisation). My experience is not special, there are millions of people out there and children currently in education who, if the current decimation of the arts continues, won’t be as lucky as me. They will be denied the opportunity to be shown a different paradigm of learning, understanding or expression of frustration.

The outcome of the arts isn’t always quantifiable, in the way the education system seems so geared towards these days. It teaches more than what can be graded (the hidden curriculum).

Thanks to the arts and obviously the support I received from the places of education I attended (and of course my parents) I doubt I’d be anything like I am now, or happy.

To take more and more funding away, I fear will lead to some children being left behind, unable to express themselves in a system they may not feel they fit in and a further condensation of education to fit a quantifiable structure, often linked to capital.


* * *

About the Author

Anthony Briscoe is a performance poet and freelance artist from Blackpool, currently living in Manchester. His Poetry ranges from political-social commentary, space, advertisements replacing love and even clowns. Anthony likes to mix the serious and the silly to discuss meaningful issues through an absurdist lens, using his background in theatrics to add an energetic, engaging and entertaining performance to all his material.

You can find him on Facebook.


Q&A with Andy N (co-host of SpeakEasy)



How did you first hear about SpeakEasy and when did you get involved in co-hosting the event?

It came about by chance actually I think from my Father who heard about at Stretford Library somewhere around June or July of 2015 and I ended up going down to the 1st

Although I was / am an experienced writer / reader, I was out of practice at that stage (long story which I won’t go into great detail) and I can remember feeling a little bit nervous by the excitement. The welcoming, low key nature of it (advertised as living room literature — the room where it is hosted reminded me of a living room) won me around and I became a regular for the next two years or so.

At the end of summer 2017, Dave who had been running Speakeasy had to step aside and Steve agreed to take over at the end of that year. Steve couldn’t host one of these events at the start of 2018. I came on board to do guest MCing (or hosting) and since then I’ve kind of just stayed on-board assisting Steve to run it ever since.

Manchester has a lot of spoken word nights. How is SpeakEasy different from those?

 One thing Dave started off when he created the night — which me and Steve carried on — is that all of the readers are the headline acts. Everybody who reads is treated the same and given the chance to read out their poetry across two halves, a total of six minutes’ worth of poetry, short stories, flash fiction or creative non-fiction. I am also proud of the supportive atmosphere, whether experienced or brand new to reading out work. SpeakEasy is a place free from Ego’s, filled with nothing but encouragement. It has a vibe I haven’t experienced in any other venue, which feels like you are reading out in the company of friends. That’s probably the reason why I agreed to help Steve out with the night originally. I’m a regular at quite a few other nights, but Speakeasy is something special. I read it described elsewhere as “The venue itself is quirky and uncanny, with an array of lampshades that remind me of a David Lynch film.”

Indeed, the atmosphere and low-key theatrical vibe of the space, helps to give Speakeasy its own distinctive identity. With a warm and convivial bar area and a quiet back room devoted to the performances, the overall feel is welcoming, informal and encouraging.

What would you say to anyone who wants to read their work out, but feels nervous?

Just do it. Personally, I think the main battle is to get up and just do it. I found when I first read, I was shaking beforehand, but was buzzing afterwards. Over ten years later, I haven’t stopped since in one form or the other. I took it slowly and found the nights that suited me as a person and a writer. I’ve have carried on since, writing a few books, performing in a lot of places, I’ve fronted a few bands and now run a few Podcast series — building myself up slowly.

Can you describe the first time you performed your work in public?

 The first official time (although there was a few minor times before that) was at Manchester Central Library at the start of 2008. I joined a poetry discussion group the year before called Poetica. The guy who ran it announced at the end of 2007, he wanted to do a low-key reading showcasing the group. He told us all not to worry to as it would be a quiet little reading and just a bit of fun. It wasn’t as there were over 50 people there. I was shaking like a leaf right up until I got on stage. What perhaps helped me out with this was asking a friend of mine Tony to come onto stage and read out the third piece with me called Airport which was a spoof about Airport Security. That piece went down really well, but I always remember it more than anything for the way I delivered the punchline four lines early. It was pointless carrying on owing to the laughter I got off the audience there. It was great fun, but I was shattered afterwards.

What is your favourite thing about performing your work at SpeakEasy?

Seeing people’s faces who are new to reading or listening, when they realise what can be said with the spoken word.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell people about the night?

SpeakEasy is on the first Wednesday of each month’s at Stretford’s Sip Club 7.30pm doors open for a 7.45pm start. Our Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/speakeasymanchester/ or bookings can be taken by Steve on stevesmythe50@gmail.com









Performance Nerves or Imposter Syndrome? (guest post by Emma Lee)


Everyone gets stage fright, the heightened anxiety and rush of adrenaline, before a performance or reading. Experienced performers see this as a good sign: it makes them more alert and attuned to their surroundings and enhances performance. But if nerves are giving you nausea, making you feel dizzy or leaving you too anxious to read, something else is going on. If it’s not a previous bad experience, chances are it’s Imposter Syndrome.

Imposter Syndrome is where someone, no matter how qualified or experienced, feels like a fraud and senses that when standing on stage to read or perform poems, the audience will somehow catch them out and discover they’re not as good as they’d hope to be.

There are five types of Imposter Syndrome

  1. Perfectionist – always sense they could do better even when others rate them brilliant.
  2. Superhuman – workaholics who push themselves to stay longer and work harder, frightened that if they stop and take a breather, someone will overtake them.
  3. Genius – need to get it perfect first time and feel shame if a first try (inevitably) fails.
  4. Individual – those who refuse assistance and believe they should be able to perform without guidance.
  5. Experts – fear being exposed as incompetent or lacking in knowledge.

Conquer it

  • You deserve stage space as much as anyone else and even seasoned performers had a first gig
  • Choose some published poems to read so you know that an editor has endorsed your work even if you’re reading for the first time
  • Rehearse so you know you can read/perform your poems smoothly in the time slot given
  • Think about and plan what you’re going to say to introduce your poems, but not so rigidly you freeze if you leave out a word or forget a bullet point
  • Sound equipment glitches, poor lighting, strange echoes in the venue or the fire alarm going off are not your problem
  • Focus on what you can control: your breathing, your pace, your choice of poems, engaging the audience
  • Silence is good; it’s the fidgeting, heckling, rustling, foot tapping that signal you’ve lost the audience
  • Remember audiences don’t respond immediately; often poems take a moment or two to sink in


Emma Lee’s most recent collection is “Ghosts in the Desert” (IDP, UK 2015), she co-edited “Over Land, Over Sea: poems for those seeking refuge,” (Five Leaves, UK, 2015), reviews for The High Window Journal, The Journal, London Grip and Sabotage Reviews and blogs at http://emmalee1.wordpress.com



Guest Post- Andy N

andy blog pic


Although (as discussed on Katy aka the Rebel Poetess blog*) having a breakdown at the age of 21 ultimately led me to becoming a writer, in a sense it taught me to fight for everything I have done in my career. However, going to university certainly was the trigger that pushed me up towards the skies.

I’ve interacted with a lot of writers since leaving, but university was where I learnt to look at my writing in a different way from the almost childish scribblings I was writing before – I’m being honest here. It came at the cost of watching lots of people give up, who in several cases I felt were better writers than me (at least then) including one friend of over twenty years – who I stopped speaking to recently for reasons I won’t go into here.

This gentleman in question is a case in point as he was an exceptional writer at university, but as soon as he left he simply fell out of the habit of writing and couldn’t get back into it when he started again years later. I’ve had moments like that over the years, but not as long. It proved challenging then, which leaves me thinking it would be almost impossible to start again after a such lengthy break as the one mentioned above.

I also recall other people like this gentleman simply gave up when they started receiving strong (sometimes cruel) criticism from tutors. My marks, it has to be said, were average before I reached my third year at university. Sometimes they were not so good, but I kept going.

Now in my case, I certainly can’t admit that I wrote masterpieces at university from 1998 to 200. In my opinion, I wrote some complete rubbish back then, but I kept going. I ended up joining a writing workshop in 2005 in Bolton. After that folded in 2008, I co-formed my own which still runs to this very day in some form or another.

At University however, although I clashed with some of the tutors there over my work, by the time I joined my first writing discussion group in 2005 I understood how to look at my work and others in a logistical way, even though I didn’t think I had learnt that at university.

Looking back at things many years later, perhaps I could have gone on to become the writer and artist I did without going to university. It’s unlikely that would have led to some of the adventures I’ve had though. At university, despite mixed relationships with some of the tutors, I made friends with certain writers, which have stayed with me until this time and taught me more than some of the tutors did. These writers, some of whom I don’t read anymore, set the foundations that what I did after university. I brought out my first book ‘Return to Kemptown’, then my second, ‘The End of Summer’. I literally had dozens of other adventures, all of which wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t had a breakdown, then went to university.


*The blog mentioned is: here



Andy N is the Author of three full poetry collections (the most recent is ‘The Birth of Autumn’ which was published in 2018) and numerous split poetry books. He is also the creator of the Barbarians of the Wall and Role Reversal series, and the editor and creator of the Spoken Label podcast series. With his partner, he co-hosts the Reading in Bed podcast, which reviews a selection of books each month.

 His official website is: http://onewriterandhispc.blogspot.com



Reading in Bed episode 5


Episode 5 of Reading in Bed is now here.

This month we reviewed poetry and fiction.

We discussed mixing fairy-tales with zombies, and I talked about a book I hated and why. As (possibly) the last two people on the planet who hadn’t read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Andy and I both read and reviewed the book. You’ll have to listen to hear our thoughts on the book though, or to find out about the reply I had on Twitter from the author.

See the list of books and the podcast below.

Remember, if you are a writer we may be interested in reviewing your book. We just ask for a free copy, either in print or as a PDF. We can’t promise to feature all books received on the podcast. If for whatever reason we can’t fit yours in, we will write a review on Amazon (or another platform if you prefer).

Contact me through my website.



This month’s books

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon


Guilt Game – L.J Sellers

Plague: The Tale of Sleeping Beauty – Mark Mackey

Sending a Drunk Text Whilst Sober – Simon Widdop



A new podcast and free or discounted books


First of all I’ve started a new podcast with my partner. We review and discuss books which we’ve read. This month we read Nightmare Realities by Amanda J Evans, Queen and Country by Greg Rucka and Things We Never Said by Nick Alexander.

To find out what we thought of them, check out the podcast.


My other piece of news is that I’m planning to unpublish my novels and novellas (or at least start the process) at the end of this month (January 2018).

That means these books may never see the light of day again, or they may get taken on by a publisher.

I’m running various offers before then. The Kindle versions of some of my books will be free or reduced.

I’ll be posting these offers on my Facebook and Twitter, so like/follow me to find out more.