Showing posts with label editors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label editors. Show all posts

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Published Writers Must Be Pitching


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

The magazine business changes constantly—as other elements within publishing. Editors change. The focus of a publication changes. The types of articles that they take changes. Themes for a magazine develop over a period of time and even what an editor takes and rejects changes.  If the editors don’t know what they want to achieve or do with the magazine (occasionally true), imagine how it confuses the people who are trying to write for them. At times it feels like a pure shot in the dark—but you have to continue taking the shot if you want to be published.
 
There are several realities to mention here. Nothing gets published if it’s only in your head or in your computer or in a file folder. It’s only when you send it into the marketplace that you have an opportunity for something to transpire.
 
Many years ago I was writing query letters about a little article on Listening Through the Bible. I targeted the idea for January issues of the magazine (perfect because people make resolutions and are looking for a new idea, etc.).  I learned if you listen to the Bible 20 minutes a day, you can make it through the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation in four months. It’s an amazing—and true fact. The tape recording of the Bible simply keeps on going where you would get stalled—like in 2 Chronicles in the genealogy section.
My query letter on Listening Through the Bible was soundly rejected—all over the place. I crafted the query letter, targeted it to appropriate publications and received rejection after rejection. I didn’t think I was going to be able to write this particular article on assignment (which comes from writing the one-page query letter).
 
One day I received a phone call from a magazine editor. She was brand new at that magazine and had taken the helm of this publication (editor-in-chief type of role). Her initial words were apologetic about going through old query letters. (In fact, the publication had already rejected my idea and returned my SASE with the form rejection). This editor loved my Listening Through the Bible idea.  Then she asked, “Can you write 500 words on this topic by _____ a specific date a few weeks away?” Instantly I agreed. The article was published and reprinted numerous times. (In fact, I need to pull out that reprint and get it back into the market. As a former magazine editor, I know the editors are looking for content for their January 2021 issues).
 
Hope springs eternal for writers — who are in the marketplace of ideas. Jump in the water with excellent writing. The water is fine.
 
Are you pitching editors at magazines? What are some of your stumbling blocks as a writer? Let me know in the comments and I look forward to helping you.
 
Tweetable:

It's a simple truth: Published Writers Must Be Pitching. Get the details from this prolific writer and editor. (ClickToTweet)

W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  He has written for over 50 magazines and more than 60 books with traditional publishers. His latest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed. Get this book for only $10 + free shipping and over $200 in bonuses. One of Terry's most popular free ebooks is Straight Talk From the Editor, 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof Submission. He lives in Colorado and has over 200,000 twitter followers

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Necessity of Simple Follow-up


By W. Terry Whalin

Good and clear communication is a critical element in the business of publishing. Otherwise authors and editors have wrong expectations.

Recently I was at Wheaton College for Write to Publish. During the question and answer portion of a workshop, a woman asked, “I sent my manuscript to an editor who asked for it at the last conference. I never heard and checked on it about six months later. When I called, the editor said she had not received it and could I send it again. I sent it a second time. Now it is six months later and I’ve heard nothing. What do I do?”

See the challenge for the author? She has been waiting for a response to a requested submission and hearing nothing. This new writer is too timid to email or call and check with the editor about it. I understand the reluctance because sometimes when you check, it gets rejected—and no one wants to be rejected.

Here’s what the writer isn’t thinking about. As editors, we receive a lot of material. For example, at Morgan James, we receive over 5,000 submissions a year and only publish about 150 books. Did you see those numbers? A massive amount of material is floating through our system at any single time period. I’m constantly putting submissions into our system and sorting through my acquisitions files.

To be transparent, other editors are not as careful with their submissions. It is not uncommon for me to receive several hundred emails a day. If I’m traveling or at a conference, and then I can’t be as conscious of my email and the submissions. Manuscripts, proposals and submissions are misplaced and sometimes the editor doesn’t receive them. Or maybe they have moved into a new computer or their computer has crashed or any number of other possibilities.

Here’s what I suggested to the writer asking about her manuscript: follow-up with the editor. Don’t wait weeks yet at the same time give it at least a week so you don’t seem overly anxious. Then you can email or put in a quick phone call to the editor asking, “Did you receive my submission?”

Notice the question. You are not asking if the editor has read it or reached a decision—which if you ask is pushing them to say, “no.” Instead you are simply asking if they received it.
You avoid waiting months for a response, hearing nothing and then asking only to learn the editor never received it. I never mind an author checking with me to see if I received their material and this simple follow-up is professional and appreciated.

Other authors are extreme in the other direction of follow-up. They follow-up too frequently. I have a children’s author who submitted their material three weeks ago. I got their material into our submission system and they received an acknowledgement from me in the mail. In addition, I emailed the author to tell him I received his submission. Yet, in the last several weeks, I’ve been in Seattle, New York City and last week Chicago. With my travel, I have not been processing manuscripts. Yet this author has called multiple times—essentially making himself a nuisance. In my last email to him, I leveled with him and asked for patience—and no more calls or checking—or I would be rejecting his submission. I’ve not heard from him in the last few days so hopefully he is following my last instructions or I will follow through with the rejection letter (whether I’ve read his material or not).

Why take such a direct response with this eager author? Because if he is eager with his submission then he is showing that he will be eager throughout the entire publication process. You can substitute my use of the word “eager” with the word “high maintenance.” No publisher wants high maintenance authors. Every publisher wants to work with professionals and not with eager authors who simply waste volumes of time and energy over nothing.

If you are submitting your work, that is excellent. Many writers never get published because of this simple fact: they never submit their material. As a professional writer, you also need to use this simple follow-up method to make sure that your material was received. It will help your work be considered and move forward through the publication process. This follow-up work is critical.

How do you follow-up? Do you have some insights or tips for other writers. Let me know in the comments below.

Tweetable:

Writers have to follow-up their submissions—yet need to do this work carefully or risk immediate rejection. Get insights from a seasoned editor here. (ClickToTweet)


------
W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  One of his books for writers is Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, Insider Secrets to Skyrocket Your Success. One of Terry's most popular free ebooks is Straight Talk From the Editor, 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof Submission. He lives in Colorado and has over 205,000 twitter followers.  

Monday, October 24, 2016

Five Ways to Annoy an Editor

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The wonderful thing is that you can annoy an editor at any and all points throughout the publishing process. This allows you to get your own back for all the odd comments sprinkled on every page of your great works from kindergarten onwards. After all, your inbox is full of emails insisting you can make a fortune with your writing in a weekend. Who needs an editor anyway?

Well, if you want to be traditionally published, an editor comes with the package deal. So let's get off on the most annoying foot from the start.

Submissions


1) Resist reading the publishers' instructions for sending in submissions. Send in a hefty paper manuscript with all pages stapled together when the instructions ask for email only.

   Choose a jolly font -- something unusual like Bauhaus 93 or all caps like Algerian. Ignore the boring fonts  like Times New Roman which are so often requested by publishers. Word will happily suggest something it considers better if you run out of ideas.

    You'll get more words on the page if you use single spacing and keep the font tiny --try 8 pt.
   
    And  better not reread your manuscript before sending it off. After all, you want your editor to have lots to do. 

Remember the Rules


2) Follow every typewriting rule you can remember. Sadly we no longer need two spaces before every new sentence. With computers, one space throughout is all that's necessary. Your editor can sort that one out fairly easily but hitting the space bar to create paragraph indents or using tabs does mean tedious days of  extra formatting.

    Life is hard enough with the latest version of Word happily saving every copy of your work in a single file and creating huge files which need to  be reduced to manageable size.


3) Ignore all rules regarding point of view. After all if you know who's speaking what's the problem? 

The problem is that readers like identifying with a particular character or characters in a story. This is difficult if they can't have an in depth involvement. If characters are batting thoughts and feelings about like ping pong balls, it may be exhilarating but it is more likely to lead to confusion than empathy.

However, it's your book. 

Find the right agent


4} Choose an agent who supports your beliefs and ignores requests for blurbs and synopses, sends in an unread manuscript on parenting to a house specializing in Romantic Fiction. Yes, we can see there is a connection there somewhere but publishers and their editors are apt to concentrate on fact or fiction, or at least have different imprints for each.

What's an Editor For, Anyway?


5} And the final definite No-no. Your editor is not there to write your book. Your editor is there to help you polish your book, make it shine. If you have problems with spelling and grammar, at least do your best to check the manuscript through with Word's tools if nothing else. Read your manuscript out loud--that's a good way to find missing words.

*****
Any more thoughts on annoying editors, or even on annoying editors? Let us know in the comments below :-)
  



Anne Duguid
Anne Duguid Knol

A local and national journalist in the U.K., Anne Knol is now a fiction editor for award-winning American and Canadian publishers. As a new author, she shares writing tips and insights at Author Support : http://www.authorsupport.net .

Her Halloween novella, ShriekWeek is published by The Wild Rose Press as e-book and in print  included in the Hauntings in the Garden anthology. (Volume Two)

Her column on writing a cozy mystery appears  in The Working Writer's Club .

Free Coffee Chat with Pinterest Specialist Deb Gonzales

                                                                   Hello, ...