Last week I named a few things you shouldn’t say to an editor “5 Things You NEVER Say to an Editor” and the post was pretty darn popular so I figured it was only practical to give a couple of tips on things editor’s love to hear from writers.
5. “I need help.”
Writers like to present a tough facade. They want to show they have everything under control and worry that asking their editors for help on a piece will cost them future work. On the contrary, editors love to know a writer will come to them for help because it ensures they will get the article they asked for, not the one a writer thought they wanted. If you are unsure of what the editor wants, encounter a major issue, i.e. with sources, or are having trouble working a particular angle, let your editor know. They’ll help come up with sources or approve a new angle, it’s their job. Just don’t wait until the last minute.
4. “You can reach me at: (614) 555.1234.”
There is nothing worse than having an issue with an article right before you go to print and you can’t get in touch with the author. Sure there is email, but as you anxiously refresh your Twitter page and email hoping for a response, you find yourself wishing, woefully, they had included a phone number in their correspondence.
Many editors are assigning work to writers without ever speaking to them over the phone – the power of technology! Unfortunately, where there is power, there is pain. Contrary to popular belief, writers aren’t in front of their computers every hour of the day and in every time zone. We leave the house, have internet troubles, and *gasp* take a break from social media and microblogging! Having an alternate means of contact an incredibly important, often overlooked courtesy.
3. “I’m available for edits.”
A Twitter friend reminded me after the 5 Thing You Never Say article that writers should keep themselves available for revisions. (Thanks NancyDWrites!) Some writers will say they are too busy to do revisions or become offended at the request. Both responses are a sure way to make the Do Not Call list. You want to do your own rewrites and edits. You are familiar with the information, sources, etc. it really is your responsibility. Do you really want someone else calling all the editing shots on your piece when you can do it yourself?
2. “I saw the great piece you published on (subject here).”
This helps establish a relationship with the editor. You don’t have to be best pals, but it helps keep your name in the front of the editor’s brain and shows you are keeping up with the publication. It’s a good idea to touch base with an editor every so often without asking for work. That’s building a relationship. Remember to keep the emails short and friendly professional.
1. “Here’s my article (turned in early!).”
OK, you don’t have to say the “turned in early part,” they’ll know. Getting a quality, ready to publish article in early is like sending a gift wrapped hug to an editor – it gives them warm, fuzzies, makes their lives easier and instantly puts you into the ‘favorable writer’ category.