Bio Etiquette for Editors
I’m having a strange experience. I got an email from the editor of another journal, one in which I’ve actually been published and nurtured hopes of being published in again, about one of my Anomalous author’s bios. The other journal editor is insisting that I remove the sentence in the bio crediting my author with being an editor at their publication (does that all follow…..?). In other words, though Author was an Editor at Other Publication at the time we did production, s/he is no longer an editor there. And Other Editor wants me to remove the line in the bio that says s/he is an Editor at Other Publication.
Ok, so my issue is a few things. One, it’s not the author asking for the change. That makes me squirmy. Two, the author was an editor at the other publication at the time we went to press. The author was not lying about the position, s/he merely left the publication. (Under nasty circumstances, seemingly, but should that be a factor?) Finally, if we were a print pub, or even an ebook format pub, rather than a multi-media pub in which one of our formats happens to be web, would we be asked to make this change? Print, definitely no. Ebook, probably not….since distribution happens at a fixed moment in time just like in print.
It seems like a web pub shouldn’t be expected to update its authors bios whenever there is a change in circumstance. Right? Or should they? The thought of making changes to a bio each time someone’s situation changes is a little staggering….just in terms of time commitment it could be crazy. We have a cut-off date for changes to the pieces before we go into production, and bios are included in that. So unless someone is claiming to be something they never were and are not (like, if I wrote that I was the founding editor of Poetry, for example) then should bios be left as is? And who has the rights to make these changes?
My feeling is that it’s in poor form to insist on erasing someone else’s bios, no matter what the circumstance. But even more so when the bio is merely outdated and not misleading or untruthful. But since this is a new issue for me, I’d love thoughts on it….