People often complain about editors. I try not to, being an editor myself, but it does happen from time to time that I whinge. Most of the time though, editors are nice people doing a tough job. This week's mail reminded me of that fact.
I got a letter from Ambit. Was a story I'd sent them in April 2005 still available, they asked. They'd written to me in July 2005 but I hadn't replied.
I never got that letter.
So I rang them - on a Saturday morning, at 09:03am - and spoke to a very nice lady who was nothing to do with the journal, but didn't seem to mind a complete stranger disturbing her weekend. She took a message for me to pass to the editorial team and I wrote and posted a letter immediately, telling them the story was still available, that I hadn't received the letter, and that I hoped they would still want the story.
On Tuesday morning I got an email from Ambit, thanking me for my letter and asking for the story as an email attachment. No snide comments about my earlier failure to respond, not a hint that I might have messed up their scheduling, just perfect politeness, friendliness and enthusiasm.
That's professionalism in action. And I'm very grateful to them for keeping the faith when they could have simply assumed I was too lazy or rude to reply.
Next time you feel inclined to slag off an editor, think how often this kind of thing must happen and how much time and trouble they might have to go to in straightening things out.
No editor is obligated to publish your work - the fact that they do so should be a matter of celebration and pride. Of course there are bad editors out there, but most are bloody good at their jobs and we should applaud their efforts.