Care and Feeding of Writers at Work Panel Reassures Authors

Editors Claire Eddy, Steve Staffel, and Stephen Mazur joined editor/author Jaym Gates and agent/author Lucienne Diver at a Sunday panel that addressed how to care for writers during the editorial and sales phases of publishing.

Regarding the relationship between editors and authors, Diver said that the ideal is one of respect and open communication.  Ideal relationship notwithstanding, she stressed that authors should keep their agents up to date on contacts with the editor. Staffel praised Diver as a rare agent who assists her authors in developing their work as well as selling the finished books.

Eddy used the anthology of a three-legged stool to describe the interdependence of author, agent, and editor. “If you knock out one [leg], the stool falls over,” she said.

Mazur, an assistant editor for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, encouraged writers to persist and submit to the magazine. He said that they try to be quick in responding and to send out something better than a form reject.

Eddy said that she needs to see something amazing, fresh, and new from new writers. She stressed that Tor is now buying for Fall 2018, so don’t write to today’s trend.

The panelists agreed that a new author should query, following publisher guidelines, only when they have a completed manuscript. The best policy for future sales is to be honest about completion dates as publishers must plan and set their own deadlines for releases.

Author of the article

Amy L. Herring (Louise Herring-Jones) writes speculative fiction, with a preference for historical fantasy and alternate mystery. Her stories, appearing in fourteen anthologies, include “The Poulterer’s Tale” in God Bless Us, Every One—Christmas Carols beyond Dickens (Voodoo Rumors Media, 2019). Amy is a NaNoWriMo co-municipal liaison. She also coordinates the Huntsville (Alabama) Literary Association’s writers’ group. Visit her online at