Dear Haiku Maven, I am tired of editors who accept my haiku submission subject to a “slight revision.” I still remember a change from five years ago that I wish I had never accepted. The editor insisted I change “crows” to “crow.” Every time I think about that haiku, which went on to win a ‘Best of Issue Award,’ I get angry. I’ve had similar requests from editors since then. Change “april” to “April” or “dad” to “Dad.” Take out the ellipsis. Put in a dash between two words because it’s really not two words, it’s a compound word. Sometimes I think these editors are just showing off their knowledge of grammar. In fact I think I won the Best of Issue Award because the editor wanted to show he was right so he picked it. But I keep saying yes! The reason? After saying No to one of these changes, the acceptance was withdrawn. Now I am afraid to say No.
Signed, Not Easy to Say No
Dear Not Easy, Haiku Maven feels your pain, which must be acute since winning an award did nothing to assuage it. There is an actual term for what you describe: ‘qualified acceptance.’ The next time this happens ask yourself which is more important: getting published with a revision you don’t like or not getting published? If you strongly believe in your original haiku, then challenge the editor. You always have the right to say No to a requested revision. The editor also has rights. She/he can accept the haiku as submitted, without the requested change. He/she also can reject it. If the haiku is rejected because you said No, you can submit it elsewhere. And remember to be grateful to the editor who gave your haiku a qualified acceptance. Most editors don’t bother. They just say No.
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