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des
Posted on Friday, February 06, 2004 - 06:54 am:   

I don't think you can generalise about editing and publishing Small Press. Various people bring various reasons, impulses and skills to the job - and the proof of the pudding is in the reading (whether there is public feedback or not about the reading). Only each individual reader can say whether it's a good publication for them.

That, for me, is the definition of a good editor where readers are satisfied.

I mention 'reading' not 'sales' or 'reviews', because I think the 'reading' is central and any reviewer is only as skilled in judging a publication as an ordinary reader. In an ideal world, I'd rather give away any mag I edit to anyone without money to spare who then quietly and anonymously enjoys it -- than make any number of sales to people who don't appreciate it. I think this is investing for the long-term future in the hope the mag becomes financially viable as a result of such a philosophy of dissemination. Of course, this could come up against the wall of bankruptcy if the 'good will' doesn't kick in very quickly! Thinking aloud.

So easy to define a good editor. But a bad editor?

Of course, a bad editor can't produce a viable magazine whatever the sales philosophy. But why is he bad? Because he can't spot typos? I only choose stories that I enjoy as a reader and are able to be published unedited (save for obvious errors). I don't presume to know better than the writer. Also, can a writer make a good editor?

And are all readers of Small Press mags writers, too? If so, viability would then take on a far more complex aspect of merely satisfying writers and keeping them in tow? Which brings the subject to a new tangent. Perhaps later.




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Des
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 02:31 am:   

Any thoughts on above?
DFS LFWIS
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Bob Urell
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 02:50 pm:   

Hey Des,
Long time no write....
I'm not sure what makes a bad editor. I guess, actually, I should say I'm not sure of everything that makes a bad editor. Some aspects might be things such as inflexibility and hubris, wherein the editor rejects or redacts stories based upon their set prejudices. Then again, John Campbell was famous for his iron fisted approach to editing, and certainly rewrote and refused stories that went on to win awards and begin careers in other venues, and we don't necessarily call him a "bad" editor, do we?
Perhaps it's not so simple as bad and good, but rather appropriate and inappropriate. What works for you, the manner in which you choose stories and the way you present them, might not work for an editor at, say, F&SF.
But then again, what do I know?
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des
Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 01:59 am:   

Thanks, Bob, I guess the proof of the pudding is in the eating, therefore in the combination of sales and reviews and comments made by ordinary readers (if any ordinary ones exist!) - which leads me to my other question below:

"And are all readers of Small Press mags writers, too? If so, viability would then take on a far more complex aspect of merely satisfying writers and keeping them in tow?"

des

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des
Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2005 - 05:39 am:   

If anyone is interested in American horror zines of the eighties and nineties, you may find this message board thread elsewhere interesting:
http://tinyurl.com/3suus
des

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