Authors hear a lot about what editors are looking for. Rules for submitting etc. I thought I would write some rules that I think editors should follow:
1) Reply to submissions and emails in a prompt manner. A lack of communication is a large fault and sends out a signal that you don’t really care much about the author or their work.
2) I really don’t like to have a manuscript rejected accompanied by an in depth critique of my work. These always come from non-professional editors-folks who don’t actually get paid to edit, but have set up their own zines. Almost never do professional editors do this. Yes, they might say something about how they really liked it, but decided not to publish it, but generally they leave it at that. Accept or reject the manuscript. You shouldn’t be giving lengthy feedback unless you want a rewrite.
3) After accepting a manuscript, an editor should publish it in a timely manner. I shouldn’t have to note the time between acceptance and publication by how many inches my hair line has receded.
4) If an editor accepts something, they have an obligation to publish it. Telling an author a year later that you have changed your mind is very bad form. Remember, it takes a hell of a lot of time and energy to write something.
5) When an editor publishes something, they should promote it. Being stingy with review copies, not getting the work out there, in the end makes the thing almost not worth doing.
6) An editor should actually edit. Just accepting a manuscript and printing it is not acceptable. If you have accepted a manuscript without suggesting a single change, you probably are doing something wrong. All manuscripts have at least some small factual or grammatical errors. It is your job to find these. Having a reader is also helpful. It is true however, that with flash fiction or poetry, the case is a bit different, as a story of 300 words might well be perfect just how it is.
7) Editors should pay what they say they will pay. Not getting paid is a very unpleasant thing.