I have seen a lot of things while working on IGMS for the last fifteen months. I've seen good stories and bad ones, great stories and really insane ones. And don't even get me started on the stuff I see at the cons. But you know what? As much of a reputation at the sf/fantasy community (and especially its writers) has for being a little wacky, they really don't hold a candle to some of what I see in the business world.
Recently I stopped working as executive editor of the regional business magazine that had driven me so nuts over the last year and started working as managing editor of a new national women's business magazine. It was a small step backwards in the title department, but a monumental step forward in the paycheck department, so it was not a tough decision.
It's a new magazine, so I put an ad on Craig's List looking for resumes and writing samples from experienced writers. I was supposed to pick out the top candidates, and then the magazine's whole team would get together and decide who to assign what articles to. The ad was very specific in saying we wanted experienced writers for a business magazine, and that candidates should send their resume and up to three links and/or published clips. No surprise that the resumes came in fast and furious, but what did surprise me were some of the following:
1. A long poem in lieu of a cover letter. Excuse me, a long, cheesy poem in lieu of a cover letter. Obviously I have nothing against poems, I posted one in my last entry. But there are times when this kind of thing is appropriate and then time when writers send long cheesy poems to people looking for business writers. I'll let you do the math.
2. A resume where the first item listed was Organic Wedding Cake Stylist. Made me think of a Vegas-style lounge singer, but with baked goods. And now, for your entertainment, the organic cake stylings of...
3. A resume in a font that - I swear to God - when I first opened it I thought it was Egyptian hieroglyphics. My eyeballs almost turned themselves inside out trying to read this thing (which I spent all of three seconds doing to satisfy my curiosity, then deleted it and moved on as quickly as possible.)
4. The unimaginable volume of respondents who e-mailed me links to 20, 30, 40 or more clips. Think about it: if the ad says send up to three clips and someone sends 50, how much faith does that inspire in me with regard to their ability to follow basic directions?
5. On the flipside of that same issue, don't tell me to Goggle your name and search for articles. Your assurances that I will find many quality samples are wasted, because I'm not going to do it. Instead, I'm going to open a new e-mail and look at the writing samples of someone WHO CAN FOLLOW DIRECTIONS. Anybody detecting a pattern here?
6. A writing sample that was the first 150 pages of a book about a serial killer in Mexico. I guess I shouldn't complain; technically it is just one sample. On the other hand I'm afraid to even think about the implications that might come with this submission.
I could add more, but I've still got nearly 200 more resumes and probably 700 to 800 writing samples to wade through and I really need to get back to it. Kind of makes me wish I were reading IGMS story submissions. Oh well, that's next week...
(BTW, speaking of this week, issue six of IGMS should be out any day now, so check back here soon for essays from the authors of the new issues' stories.)