Farewell & Thank You to Editor J.C. Towler

After five years as an editor at Every Day Fiction, J.C. Towler has stepped down to focus on his writing and make room for the increasing responsibilities of his day job.

John started as a slush reader in mid-April of 2010, and was promoted to editor less than two months later at the beginning of June.

During his time at EDF, he provided editorial comments on a total of 5746 stories.

John has been a great friend and editorial colleague of mine at EDF for the past 5 years. We hopped on board simultaneously as editors, and he had to be one of the fastest readers I’d ever met. John always stopped us from publishing those “over-the-top” saccharine Hallmark stories which really seemed to irritate him. He always made me giggle when I knew he didn’t like a story. He would start his editorial comments with: “Lots to like here, but….” LOL

You will be missed, John. But so glad you’re going to be hanging around and writing for us now.

All my best to you. See you in the piles.

Carol Clark

John has been a mentor and coach for so many of our team, helping to develop their editorial skills and confidence.

When I first came aboard, John welcomed me with the following lines in regards to my previous mentoring at another creative writing site:

“Every once in awhile writers we reject will e-mail us to express their appreciation, so you might get a bit of that here too. Where form rejections are the industry norm, we are proud of our personal touch here at EDF.” As Skinny Pete might say, “Church.”

Another early bit of sagacity: “At some point, you may read a story after somebody else has commented and disagree with their point of view. As long as it doesn’t come across as an attack, feel free to give the writer your honest opinion, even if it conflicts with somebody else’s.” Even now, every time an author retorts with, “Your feedback is inconsistent!” I think of John’s point and embrace it rather than lament it. Authors who do not understand variance in constructive feedback do not understand constructive feedback in general.

A later gem that John wrote to the EAs and slushers that was both morale-lifting and dripping with wisdom: “I know that sometimes the hardest part of giving feedback is finding something complimentary to say about a piece that is completely unsuitable, but the effort is greatly appreciated. The critical feedback is handled professionally and with tact. Not every author will handle rejection well, but the ones with an eye toward improving their writing will understand an ounce of candor is worth fifty pounds of empty platitudes.”

Joseph Kaufman

We have all been lucky to work with him, and although he said “I don’t mind slipping quietly away, stage right” with regard to his departure, we couldn’t just tuck a mention of it into next month’s editorial post.

It’s worth making specific reference to his modesty, his talented editorial eye, and to his support of team members.  I’m certain I wasn’t alone in receiving a constructive or encouraging note from John at just the right time, every time. He’s a great teacher who leads by example. His recorded total of stories read doesn’t reflect the many stories he processed without further comment, putting the actual figure well above 6000 – a most impressive sum. He’s a hard act to follow and will be missed on the team.

Rose Gardener

So please, if you’ve enjoyed reading and/or submitting stories to EDF over the past five years, take a moment to appreciate all the work John has done, and wish him well in his writing adventures.

Can’t deny I’ve got tears in my eyes. It’s been a long time and we’ve had a great run together. John, you’re an awesome editor and I will always be proud to have worked with you. You’ve been the best editorial partner any of us could want.

The silver lining is this: I love your stories and am truly excited that we will get to publish them once again.

Camille Gooderham Campbell

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