This is an odd one. I edit a couple of publications and have had this happen to me twice over the last couple of months. It’s from corporate writers doing it as part of what they do for a living rather than professional journalists, so I can kind of understand where they’re coming from, but…basically…if you’ve agreed to write something for me, please write it. Or say you’re not doing so.
Exhibit 1: a professor agrees to write something for a supplement I’m editing. No names, no pack drill. He gets it to me on time and it’s well written.
And he tells me the name of his co-writer so I can credit them properly.
Co-writer? It was a good piece so I wouldn’t have minded. However, having briefed the original writer as to what I was after and how the supplement would work, it was peculiar to find a complete stranger creeping into the mix somehow.
I’ve got this friend who can write
Even odder was the contact on another publication who had a specialism in a particular area in which we were interested. So I approached him to write something and he readily agreed.
He submitted early. It was a good piece. We had a photo and a bio of him so I was ready to go.
Then at the last minute I checked whether his bio was still up to date. And thank goodness I did so, because he then told me a colleague and contact – from a very reputable source – had in fact written the piece.
So there was a last minute scramble to get the right pictures in place, source a bio for the actual writers and I’m still not certain why the original writer either thought it was OK to substitute someone else without mentioning it or why he felt he had to be the middle person sending emails back and forth as if he were the writer.
Editors aren’t all control freaks. However, they do like a fighting chance of being aware of what’s going on in a publication someone is paying them to assemble. So if you or a client are ever contributing to a magazine or website, throw us a bone – tell us if you’re having it written by someone else!
Do you need help with corporate writing or engagement with the press? I can help – give me a call on 07973 278780 or fill in the form below.