If you want to be a writer …
Sometimes you have to take it on the chin.
Today I got my complimentary copy of an anthology I’ve got a story in. My name is spelt wrongly in the contents list. It could be worse, it could be wrong in the story footer and the biographical notes, which it’s not, but what would you do?
I shall thank the editor, give it a couple of days, and then email to say that if we go to a second edition (ha ha!), perhaps it could be put right.
What I won’t do is take it personally.
Of course it’s upsetting, but hey – the upside is that I’ve been published again! People make mistakes. I make enough of them to know that I have no right to pour scorn on the editor. And I don’t want to make an enemy out of somebody who’s been good enough to choose my work and give it an audience.
Of course I feel a bit slighted that the editor doesn’t have a clear enough impression of me to know my name and how to spell it, but I know that there must have been a couple of hundred writers who didn’t make the cut who would be begging for a chance to have their name mangled in this anthology.
Of course I wish it hadn’t happened. But shit happens. It happens to us all, and thinking of it as a personal insult, a deliberate slight or an attempt to scupper my success (all of which I’ve heard from other writers who’ve had similar problems) is a way to sabotage your own career. I’ll bet Shane Warne spent a fair part of his early career being called Shane Ward – if it doesn’t happen to him now, it’s because he’s famous enough to be instantly recognised (even by a woman who hates cricket) so my job here is not to complain, it’s to make sure that Kay (not Kaye, or Kate, or Faye) Sexton is well known enough for people not to get her name wrong.
Well, it’s something to aim for, anyway!
LMD21st January 2007
Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz said it very well one time: when things go wrong, do your sulking in the bathroom.
That probably applies to more than just writing, of course, but when I see a rejection — especially a bad copier copy of a form rejection with my name nowhere on the paper — I sulk in the bathroom.
I like your idea of emailing a correction in the future, and preferably after you’ve been asked to contribute to a future anthology. “I’d love to contribute again. I would like to ask that the copywriters proofread my name, which was incorrectly spelled in your last anthology.” 😀