There are some writers that are heads and shoulders above others. They always snag the important gigs and never seem to have a dry spell. What is it about them that makes them so popular? Abundant talent? Insider connections?
Talent will take you far and connections will help you get your foot in the door, but there are three things that, when all else is equal, separate the cream from the watery stuff no one wants.
Star writers are excellent communicators. They keep their editors informed on article development, including any changes or source issues. They are accessible. Emails are returned quickly and phone calls are returned by the next business day. Skype or an IM are just a click away. An editor never has to worry about what’s happening when they work with these rock stars.
These same writers know how to keep in front of editors and clients without being pushy. They follow what publications are doing, drop a line of hello, forward an article someone might be interested in – and not in the same day. They are unforgetable without effort.
Better than any pizza delivery service, rock star writers are always early. Not on time – early. They understand that editors/clients are always facing a huge time crunch. Getting it in early shows that they are on their game and they can be trusted with the big gigs because they manage both their time and the publication’s interests well.
There’s a difference between communication and hand-holding. Rockin’ writers use their problem solving skills and don’t wait for an editor to lead them. They are proactive. If there is a problem with a angle, they keep the editor informed and will give them several options or alternatives.
They are also masters of clean copy. An editor knows with their go-to folks they will get timely work, clean copy and one less migraine.
Talent is incredibly important, contacts can be made fairly easily, but professionalism will keep you in the green long after the wishy-washy Hemmingways and sloppy Stephens are dropped for missed deadlines. Editors and clients want someone dependable and who consistently exceeds their expectations.
How do you knock a client/editor’s socks off?