"For some incomprehensible reason, many beginners are often possessed with the absurd notion that editors steal work. To the experienced editor this is laughable. I do not believe there is a magazine in the country that would steal any part of a submitted story. Editors are absolutely honest and trustworthy. Why shouldn't they be? Is there any reason in the world why a magazine editor should steal a manuscript, face future disgrace and unlimited expense through publicity and legal redress, when he can buy all the good productions he can use at regular rates, and be on the safe side?" — Elinor Glyn, 1922. Glyn was a popular and controversial novelist and screenwriter in her day.
"Never give a story away. If it is worth publishing it is worth being paid for, and to part with it for nothing injures the literary market for your fellow-writers as well as for yourself." — William Dana Orcutt, 1912.
"[T]here is no end to the work that can be done to improve a manuscript; at the same time, you don't want to flatten it out or get rid of any sparkle." — Helen Gurley Brown, legendary longtime editor of Cosmopolitan, in her 1998 book, "The Writer's Rules."
"God, for some inscrutable reason, elected to create authors in a coarser and baser mold—if such a thing is conceivable—than that in which He fashioned editors.... They are, in short, bores, drones, charlatans, misbegotten creatures of shadow and shame." — Frank Crowninshield, editor of Vanity Fair magazine, on how editors view writers, 1916.
"All editors live on flattery. They can be bought or bribed—like so many aldermen or critics.... They are malingerers. They are criminals. There is, in short, something almost slimy and shuddery about the horror of them." — Frank Crowninshield, editor of Vanity Fair magazine, on how writers view editors, 1916.
"An editor should have a pimp for a brother so he has someone to look up to." — Writer Gene Fowler (1890-1960), presumably referring to newspaper editors.
By turns a newspaperman, novelist, screenwriter, and biographer, Fowler also wrote three memoirs, "Timberline" (1933), "A Solo in Tom-Toms" (1946), and "Skyline" (1961). A biography is "The Life and Legend of Gene Fowler" by the humorist H. Allen Smith, a Fowler friend (1977).
"Only rarely have we been able to understand what an editor was talking about. Sometimes we have suspected that neither of us did." — Heywood Broun, from a chapter titled "Are Editors People?" in his book "Pieces of Hate And Other Enthusiasms" (1922).
It was on this day (May 11) in 1911 that Dr. W.R.C. Latson, editor of Health Culture magazine, apparently shot himself in the head at his office on Riverside Drive in Manhattan. He left behind a note saying, "I have done my best—death."
"I have this button in my head. I push it and I become thirteen again, and I remember all the things I longed for." — Gloria Stavers, the 30-something editor of 16 Magazine, explaining her editorial methods in a 1967 Look interview. Hugely influential in her day, Stavers furthered the careers of many 1960s and early '70s teen idols, most notably Jim Morrison of the Doors.
"[T]he American editor seems to have felt from the beginning that he belonged to a more responsible class than the author, and continued, perhaps unaware, the habit of treating him as 'a rogue and a vagabond' who should be grateful for slipping into good society even when the situation had become somewhat reversed..." — Algernon Tassin, in his book "The Magazine in America," 1916.
"Concentration is the secret of success, and the more a man concentrates on one thing, the greater his success in it." — Edward Bok, the longtime, and famous in his day, editor of The Ladies' Home Journal, in an 1898 interview.