I have a question for all of you, and if you read on, there's one for readers as well. How much do you think a bad reputation damages a writer? Or the reader/writer relationship? For myself the "so-and-so is grumpy and won't talk to people at the bar or comes off short in their emails/posts or is opinionated and I don't like their opinions they express on a list" is usually a non-issue. Personality is personality. Writing is writing.
But from the editor's side of the desk, I've had to implement policies because of writers. In one case, we took a story from someone who hadn't sent in their release with it. We did get the release. Then, we got unpleasant communication from another publication after the story appeared, because the author had sold it to us as a previously unpublished work, and sold it to them under the same terms as well. We published it first (unaware of this other deal until after the fact) and the other publication was - in my opinion - justifiably upset. What protected us from a legal issue was the release form. Now, we clearly state if there's no release we won't even consider the submission, because we realized how close we came to having a serious problem.
That wasn't enough for me to blacklist the writer. No, it wasn't until that person sent me a very insulting email after we rejected another one of their stories that I started to think it was unlikely I wanted to deal with them again.
In the past few weeks a situation came up where someone was annoying, nothing more (in my opinion). It fell to my husband's side of the ezine to deal with. I'm aware he was inclined to tell the person off, but was quite restrained, to the point of suggesting the person consider their behaviour and how that would affect an editor's choice about whether or not to work with them again. As of last night, my husband was ready to boot the person. I wasn't.
But as of this morning I took the unprecedented move of removing their story from the online reads section of our website. They sent two ignorant emails this morning, one making it clear that they didn't care if they had a bad reputation with us because their story had already been published), and one that told me to f off.
I walk both sides of the line, writer and editor, and I try to understand the frustrations on either side of the equation. However, I'm rapidly getting to the point where I don't want to work with people who get published by us and then turn around and insult us. Considering the volume of submissions and how many great stories we unfortunately turn away because of space, well...
Will any other editor admit to having a list of writers they won't work with? What do writers think? It gives me great pause to put another name on a list, even of two. (I'll ban obnoxious authors from being reviewed without blinking an eye, but this, to me, is different.)
Readers, does author reputation ever affect your reading choices?
Stuff like this makes me wonder if I want to spend my free time doing this any more. It's amazing how one bad situation impacts you more than all the good ones.