When Editors Add Typos

Q: I want to get paid for my writing, so I signed up for a journalism workshop at my community college to attain some clips. I’ve written articles for the school paper, but the “editors”—many just out of high school—have added typos to my articles. Can I still use these as clips? Do editors realize that a typo in an otherwise clean clip isn’t the author’s fault?—Linda Pescatore

A: Editors do read clips with a tiny grain of salt and understand that typos can magically appear without the writer realizing it. An editor wouldn’t turn down the next Hunter S. Thompson or Stephen King because his clip read “who” instead of “whom.”

Go ahead and send them those clips. Make a note that typos were added in the editing stage and that you’re actually very meticulous about grammar in your own work. Don’t sound defensive or irritated with the publication that supplied your clips; just state the errors matter-of-factly and professionally.

Brian A. Klems is the online managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine.

Have a question for me? Feel free to post it in the comments section below or e-mail me at WritersDig@fwpubs.com with “Q&Q” in the subject line. Come back each Tuesday as I try to give you more insight into the writing life.

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0 thoughts on “When Editors Add Typos

  1. Megan Cutter

    I agree with Brian as well. My maiden name is McLeod, which always is misspelled with a number of variations. Depending on the situation, I will note my maiden name in the cover letter. Recently, I have been lucky enough to see a proof before the piece was printed, so there is an opportunity to correct any errors. I agree that you should go ahead and submit the clips, particularly if they show the range of your work.
    With sincere regards,

    Megan Cutter

  2. Kelly Sabetta

    I agree with Brian. I had a similar situation happen to me when I was in college. An editor added a few changes, which ended up altering the information I provided. It was very upsetting. Another thing you can do, Linda, is talk to the editors about it. If you find a mistake, it’s important to contact the editors because they can run a correction in the next issue of the paper. You can always add the clarification when sending your clips as part of your portfolio.

    Kelly Sabetta