Posted by on Jan 24, 2007 in editors, erotica | 6 Comments

And sometimes the editor is just plain wrong

And a writer has to nail their colours to the mast. Below is a series of emails between me and an erotica editor whose details I have removed to save unpleasantness. This is a publisher that asks for a sample story – a process I’m always dubious about, as it often leads to work being used without payment, although I have no reason to believe that would be the case here.

Anyway, the first thing I asked for was an assurance that I’d be paid if they chose to use my ‘sample’. That question was ignored, and I received a sample spec to write to. While I was pondering the spec, I went to their site to have a look at the stories they currently offer as samples so as to acquaint myself with their preferred style. I could have just failed to submit a sample story, but sometimes you have to speak honestly, don’t you? So, given that I make a reasonable living from erotica and want to preserve what I think is a good name for professionalism, teach a course on writing about sex, and believe that intelligent and amusing writing about things sexual is one of the great pleasures of adult life, this is the email I sent to him ….

—–Original Message—–
From: kay
To: X
Sent: Wed, 24 Jan 2007 6:54 AM

Dear X

I’ve spent some time looking at the stories on your site and I hope you’ll forgive me if I say that actually, I’m not willing to write for you. I’m sure you do pay well, but after looking at the samples which contain phrases like ‘she lied down next to me’ I have to say I’d be unhappy to have my name associated with such a site, because people might think it was me who didn’t know that there is no such past participle of lay – lied means to tell an untruth, pure and simple.

Yours ever


And he replied …

From: X
To: kay
Sent: 24 January 2007 16:35

Your arrogance has been noted.

To which I said …

From: Kay Sexton
Sent: 24 January 2007 16:39
To: X

Well, I think that’s a little harsh. I point out an egregious grammatical error in a public sample – which might cost you business, apart from anything else – and you respond that I’m arrogant? I think an editor who can’t spot grammatical failures is pretty arrogant to set tests for others, to be honest.

Never mind, we would never have got on anyway.

Yours ever


And life is too short to waste on such pettiness. So that’s one place you won’t be finding this arrogant writer’s prose!


  1. Jai
    24th January 2007

    Such a response is hard to comprehend. all i can say is it is their loss – not yours. I applaud your stand. too often we writers kow-tow to editors for the ‘glory’ of publication. I have been fortunate to work with mainly brilliant ones but obviously there are megalomaniacs out there

  2. Nik's Blog
    25th January 2007

    Yes, well done for making a stand. If something’s wrong then it’s wrong. If if someone whose job is (or a part of it) to spot such things doesn’t one must wonder whether they’re in the right job. That said, people do make mistakes. It’s how they react to them that’s important. That editor’s reaction was not a good one.

    Keep at it and keep blogging!


  3. Ginger
    25th January 2007

    Sounds like a fellow with TDS (Tiny Dick Syndrome) to me. Good for you that you stood up to him.

  4. Kay Sexton
    25th January 2007

    Ginger, I just spat tea in my keyboard … that’s the funniest thing I’ve had on the blog for a long time!


  5. Vanessa G
    26th January 2007

    Echo… what a small minded, idiotic response. Arrogant? Yep HE certainly is.

    And TDS… well, Ive met many men who must have this… always talking about it, and what do they say all mouth and no trousers or summat?

    Im mixing me metaphors. Or me trousers. Or summat.

    Seriously, thanks Kay, for such an honest and useful blog.


  6. LMD
    26th January 2007

    There are idiots in all fields, for sure. The message here, though, is to understand that our work should be showcased, not simply tossed onto the screen or onto paper. Sometimes we become too desperate for the publication credits, and we fail to watch the caliber of our associations.

    Good points here, Kay!


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