I sold an article to what I guess is a mid-range national magazine. I was paid on acceptance and eagerly waited to see my name and my article in print!
Well it happened. And I was horrified!
The editor changed my irony to an attempt at blunt humor and, in my opinion, it didn’t work. Oh the information in the article is okay, but the whole tone was altered. Frankly, I think it makes me look stupid.
Can they do that? What can I do? What should I do?
Ugh. Isn’t it awful? I’ve had that happen and I too was mortified. Like you I asked a more experienced writer what I could do and he wisely suggested I do nothing.
Sure, he pointed out, I could write a nasty letter or even a letter for their Letters to the Editor section, but it wouldn’t change what was done. Instead I’d look like whiner and make an enemy of a magazine editor, something to be avoided.
Of course, if they caused a substantial error, that requires correction. You see those notices all the time. But as far as the writing style goes? Well, you sold the article and they bought it so they can do what they want, including change it in ways you don’t like.
Fortunately, this doesn’t happen often. Most editors work to make their writers look good, and do a much better job than apparently this one did. The top tier of magazines often ask writers to approve any changes, although they aren’t usually required to do so.
I ended up doing nothing except claiming the magazine as one of the places my articles appeared. I didn’t use the article as a writing sample and eventually almost forgot about the whole incident.
I strongly suggest you do exactly the same thing.
Have you had this experience? What did you do?
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