Maria Schneider Shout Out!

It isn’t every day a writer gets to meet a woman like Maria Schneider. Former Chief Editor at Writer’s Digest and the present Lifestyles Digital Content Manager at the Cincinnati Enquirer, Maria Schneider started her website, Editor Unleashed, with the  goal of bridging the gap between writers and professionals  of the publishing industry.  After a successful year of building her website into an impressive resource for writers, Maria can rest assured she has created something to be proud of.

When I first started writing, ten years ago, the idea of having access to woman with Maria’s exceptional credentials and experience would have been ridiculous. Editors are busy.  They rarely have time to drop you a note let alone answer questions about the craft. What sets Maria and her site, Editor Unleashed, above the norm is her willingness to share the wealth of her experience. In a world where so many individuals are selling their tips and/or publishing secrets, Maria’s generosity in making knowledge available to those who seek it is something that deserves recognition.  If the topic is important to writers, you can count on Maria to blog, twitter or have a guest interview about it.

And if she thinks there’s a worthwhile lesson to be taught?

Last summer, Maria Schneider gave writers the opportunity to slip into an editor’s shoes when she hosted the Editor Unleashed/Smashwords Flash Fiction 40 Contest at Editor Unleashed.  Not only were writers invited to submit stories without an entry fee, they were permitted to be active participants of the voting process. In short, the writers got to play editor and vote for the stories they thought should win the 500.00 prize. A diligent participant, I read over 280 stories in one week, judged them based on a 1 to 5 star rating system and voted.

For the first time in my life I got to experience what it was like to shift through hundreds of stories at a breakneck pace. And baby, I was ready to bark at the moon by the time I was done.  My conclusion?   Editors do NOT have a master plan to grind the bones of writers’ dreams into dust for use as a facial scrub. They are hardworking individuals who are faced with the daunting prospect of reading hundred, thousands of manuscripts in order to find the few that meet the standard.

It’s a lesson Maria thought writers ought to learn. It’s a lesson that I’ve remembered each time I’ve sent a story out and had it come back to me. I have Maria to thank for demonstrating what it’s like to be in the editor shoes. I have her to thank for holding a contest that taught me about honesty, hard work, gratitude and above all, graciousness. But then, who better to learn from than a woman who has demonstrated all these things herself?

Maria Schneider is embarking on yet another adventure and I wish her safe journey and best of luck. I want to let her know this is one writer who is grateful for her efforts.  I will remember and I will do my best to pay it forward.

Thank you, Maria, for giving me the incentive to step out and begin my own journey.


visit  Maria Schneider’s website  at

4 Responses to “Maria Schneider Shout Out!”
  1. Well said, Laurel. A beautiful tribute to Maria. 😉

  2. Linda says:

    Super tribute Laurel — and you got me all pumped up, too! Peace, Linda

  3. Q says:

    Thank you Raven Lady. A fitting tribute. I’d also add Chris Roerden (“Don’t Murder Your Mystery”, D.O.A.) to a writer’s bookshelf. It’s not just about “Mystery stories, but describes the whole publishing and screening process. Our very own Bob Hembree at Writers Village U. has also provided valuable information on editor’s policies. Discouraging at times, but it does remind us that ours is not an easy craft and to stay in the race, we must learn it well. You are doing it so, and your writing is becoming ever greater. I wish I could say the same. I’ll be in touch with you again I hope, before Christmas. Thank you for the links. All the best to you and yours.

    Q (aka Peter Knight)

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