So here’s the scenario: I put up a semi-open call for the newest Blaze Ward Presents anthology about a week ago. I only post them on FB, because that’s the only social medium I pursue beyond my own newsletter, but that newsletter is for readers, not writers. (Got a different one for artists, if you want more information.)

I immediately got several submissions, because a number of folks had been told ahead of time what the theme was going to be. I’m okay with that, as I’ve worked with all of them in the past.

One gentleman (we’ll call him Mark for now) sends me a note that I had sent something in. In the fracas, I lost track. If you send me something, I will reply when it arrives. Even something as simple as “got” just so you know I saw it.

Mark’s never came in.

About a week later, I am responding to other folks that have questions and see his original note. Check my notes and realize I have nothing from that person, so I ping him and ask him to resend.

According to his response, he does. About an hour passes, and I see nothing, so I reach out via DM and send him my email, just in case he wrote it down wrong. He sends me his, so I send a direct ping email. You can never really trust email these days. Especially not if you are through a crappy isp like comcast.

So far, so good. I’m conscientious here. Trying to reach out to someone and let them know that there seems to have been a problem at my end and can we resolve it? I’d like Mark to submit, if he has something. Even if it ends up being slush, I try to send back rejection notes that are more than “pass.”

Mark replies on FB with “Sounds like it’s not worth it.”

So, lemme tell you how rude that comes across to an editor. I might be overreacting a shade with the particular profanity that emerged, so I replayed the conversation with Fabulous Publisher Babe™ just because it can be a “measure twice, cut once” kind of thing, but she had the exact same reaction.

A professional works with an editor/publisher who is asking for help. Mark snapped his fingers in my face instead. I’m sure the grapes were already sour, as the old saying goes, but Mark here did something extra special today.

He moved himself into that special (and pretty damned short) list of artists with whom I will never work again. As he intended, suddenly even reading his emails became “not worth it.”

Not that I expect him to learn anything from the subject, because after stewing for a few hours, I just went ahead and unfriended that punk and blocked him. You don’t ever get unblocked. I just presume that I had a damned good reason to block you in the first place and would need a long and cogent apology from someone after they had begun to show public evidence of having grown up and wanting to act like an adult. (“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”)

Telling an editor that it’s not worth working them is a mark of juvenility that rubs me the wrong way. And it cuts both ways. If that’s your idea of professionalism, you and I will not be working well together at any point in the future, so we should just ahead and cut to the chase now.

And cut we did.

I won’t work with Mark. There are a lot of folks out there trying to present as professionals with whom the original response would have been somewhat less antagonistic. But unlike Mark here, I don’t believe that my shit doesn’t stink. I make mistakes. I admit them and try to make amends. That’s why I tried several times to establish a direct line of communications with the guy.

He decided that I wasn’t worth working with.

Okay. Strange response, but I’m willing to honor it. Will make sure not to work with you in the future.


For the rest of you folks out there as accidental bystanders, I have found that starting from a presumption of innocent mistake is a much better spot. I get that folks are stressed out after a year of this shit, but in vino, veritas. If you are an asshole to a random stranger on the internet (and I have no idea who the guy is, other than he found me at some point), then I’ll assume you’re just an asshole.

It goes back to how someone treats the waitstaff at dinner. Doubly so if a mistake has been made. Do they explode in righteous indignation, or chill and remember that shit happens if the person is apologizing?

Bridges are pretty easy things to burn. Especially with me. I’m not a confrontational person. Especially with total strangers. More than a few folks have blown up in my face over the years, only to discover that the blow-out argument that they had apparently been hoping for wasn’t the outcome they got.

I’ll just walk. I do that. Communication is a two-way street, but only if I believe that I am working with an honest broker. Sour grapes don’t cut it.

Hopefully, this little PSA makes you stop and think about how you treat the folks around you. Are complete strangers left seething at your words, or thankful?

Simple as that.

Are you acting like an asshole?

We won’t find out what excuse he wants to give me if and when the emails suddenly start working, because he has become an unperson.

That’s what folks call consequences. Your behavior has them, even if you weren’t paying any attention.