Guidelines for Editor/Writer Relationships

One of the most important factors in the success of a publication is the editor/writer relationship. It is especially important within EPA, as we have committed to advancing the work and witness of Jesus Christ and the church.

As a service to the membership, EPA has developed the following guidelines for editor/writer relationships. 

General guidelines

Editors in the EPA shall interact with every writer in a way that displays respect, honesty, fairness and love. Our goal is utmost professionalism. 

Editors and writers alike should consider the Golden Rule in their relationships with each other. We should consider how we would like to be treated if we were in the other’s shoes. 

Handling queries

Respond to queries and solicited submissions within eight weeks of receipt. When a writer inquires about the status of a solicited submission, respond within 48 hours. 

Read queries carefully. Editors should have genuine interest in a submission before asking to see it, especially if it hasn’t yet been written. Give any directions for a change in focus or content at the query stage, not after the article is written. 

If a query must be rejected, editors should give clear indication of why. 


Be as specific as possible when making assignments. What is the purpose of the article? Who is the audience? What questions should the article answer? What approach should it take? What should the writer avoid? If possible, include a copy of an article that is similar in approach to what you’re looking for. 

When making an assignment, make sure to clarify the basic business questions, such as payment rate, rights purchased, expenses covered and not covered (travel, phone, etc.), deadline, word length, and how many revisions are included in the basic contract. 

If an article must be rejected, clearly communicate the reason(s) why. Even if a kill fee is paid, writers should know why an article doesn’t work, and what could’ve been done to make it successful. 

After editing, allow writers to check copy that has been changed substantially, especially if text has been added. Give the writer a chance to correct any facts or meanings that were inadvertently changed. 

Do whatever possible to rectify any problem that arises when the writer is not at fault; e.g., when you realize your assignment was unclear or the approach you suggested was flawed. This includes paying a fair kill fee. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it and apologize. 


Pay promptly. Pay should be on acceptance, and full processing of payment should be within 30 days of acceptance. Be clear about payment schedules up front. 

Pay fairly. If an article is reduced in size for any reason, pay for the number of words assigned, not what is finally used. If a rewrite is needed after a decision to change an article’s direction, pay the writer for the extra work. 

Pay kill fees. Editors should make every effort not to change their minds once an article has been assigned. But if they must change, they should pay the writer fairly for all work completed, whether it is used or not. 

Have a clear policy regarding electronic rights. If the publisher makes financial gain from electronic distribution, the writer should likewise be compensated. Both parties should agree on the amount of time the publisher plans to post the article online.

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