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When to follow up with magazine editor? - Page 2

post #21 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollycat View Post
the most important thing in the world when pitching, to me, is understand the mag youre writing for. take a day, go to the library and skim the last years issues at least. rookie mistake with a bullet is someone who wrote a piece or is submitting a pitch, doesnt understand your book and its obvious sent the same exact query to twenty other mags.

best, h
Ah... Ok, now that makes sense. So, really all these rookie mistakes come back to being about knowing the magazine. Now, when I see one of those things written in a forum or an advice article on how to break into freelancing, I will view it with that lens.
post #22 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceilydhmama View Post
Hollycat - great posts. What week are you at - with your bedrest? I thought I would go stir crazy during my six-weeks, but mothering helped...

I don't think I have much to add other than I'm pretty sure I've made every rookie mistake and it's been ok, I may have been secretly mocked but I still have plenty of awesome work (although the story I'm currently working on is about to make my eyes cross and my brain explode...) The key, I think, is to keep learning and to communicate with your editor like you're on the same team.
Diane - I have more quesitons for you too! Now that I am in this for real, things are popping into my mind that I'm curious about. For instance, how long did it take you to feel like you weren't a rookie anymore? And, how many articles and queries do you write per month?

The second question I ask because now that I have truly started the 30 queries in 30 days, I'm finding that I can't do it. That's too much. I just finished my 4th query for the month (sort of, one is a rewrite) and I'm finding that they are way time consuming. Which, I guess is good. But, I know I can't do this all month. I've got to do my regular writing as well and writing the queries is taking as much time or more than writing my web articles. And then there's the kids to take care of - lol. So, I'm just wondering what an average writer with a child (or three) at home can really produce in a month.

I'm finding that it's not so much the writing that takes time, but the research - for both the queries and the articles. And, I'm cool with all that. I like it actually, I just don't see myself doing 30 of these a month, plus articles on top of that. Maybe when the baby is older.

But, I'm wondering is that what the really successful writers do? Or do they do more?

I want to just jump in and do this all day! But, obviously, I can't.
post #23 of 39
I think the idea of pushing yourself to do 30 queries is that you'll have those potential jobs out there. Not that you have to do 30 every month...but that once you have 30 potentials out there you will begin to generate income.

Some might come to fruition very quickly - I have already written, sold and BEEN PAID FOR the very first article I submitted from last month! But two of my others I haven't even heard back from yet.

Maybe in another couple weeks one will say "Sure send the article" and the other will say "No thankyou" and I'll submit it elsewhere and begin the whole 6-8 week waiting process all over again!

But meanwhile I'm not twiddling my thumbs because I have all those other ideas being considered by all those other editors at all those other magazines! Even if I only end up actually writing and selling one or two articles to a print magazine per month - having that "snow ball" of ideas from one steady month of pressing for ideas will give me instant momentum. I'm not thinking of one article, working on one article, submitting one article, waiting to hear back about that article...I'm moving on! I'm pressing forward!

Next month I won't NEED to send out 30 queries - I can resend out ideas as I get rejections and write the articles I get jobs for. I won't have to re-research or re-think ideas because I'll have much of the work from this month to be recycled.

At least, that is my thinking about it. :-)

Kind of like how at Suite101 you build up a body of content that eventually pays you MUCH more each month than the 4 or 5 articles you submitted that particular month. You maybe only did 4 articles worth of work that month - but you are getting paid for and rewarded for past work from previous months.

Angela <><
post #24 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by evies_mom View Post
Oh it makes sense to me as well. Perhaps I chose my words poorly. Difficult and unfair in the sense that a newbie writer has to be better than the pool of regular writers editors work with to get noticed. In most professions, green workers do not have to be, nor are they expected to be, better than their seasoned peers, KWIM?

my point was, this isnt my experience. there is a threshold that EVERYONE has to show they can meet. newbies are at a disadvantage only because they havent proven yet they can do it, but everyone has to meet that threshold, newbies and oldies alike. i dont think the standard is any higher for newbies. oldies have just already crossed it.
post #25 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twocoolboys View Post
Ah... Ok, now that makes sense. So, really all these rookie mistakes come back to being about knowing the magazine. Now, when I see one of those things written in a forum or an advice article on how to break into freelancing, I will view it with that lens.
its easy to be focused on YOUR PIECE but you must be equally focused on THEIR MAGAZINE.

think of it like going out on a date and all you do is talk about you, your needs, what you want to do, and totally ignore everything your date says about who he is and what he's looking for. it wouldnt be a good parntership. sortof the same diff.
post #26 of 39
thanks for your kind words re my bedrest. im doing great.

i dont think there is any right way. it seems to me the 30 queries is a great exercise in getting over a big writer hump - fear and inertia - and if it does that, even if you dont sell a thing, its a success.

alternately, doing fewer, more thoughtful queries is great too. in general, its obvious but focus on books you love. having said that, just getting published is great too.

and i cant stress this enough - its not as hard as you think it is. editors really like writers. thats why they do what they do. they love being helpful to, and midwifing, writers. they aren't gatekeepers, trying to keep you out. they tend to be thoughtful, very nice people.

good luck!
post #27 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollycat View Post
my point was, this isnt my experience. there is a threshold that EVERYONE has to show they can meet. newbies are at a disadvantage only because they havent proven yet they can do it, but everyone has to meet that threshold, newbies and oldies alike. i dont think the standard is any higher for newbies. oldies have just already crossed it.
I understand what you are saying. Really I do. I am just restating what the points that I have read/have discussed with editors of other mags. There spin on in was that if they can get a writer that they have worked with, have confidence in, knows they can meet the deadline, and knows what to expect of them and what they are capable, they will more than likely go with the experience writer than take a risk on a newbie, especially for a feature article. So in order to stand out, green writers need to go the extra mile and almost be the "over-achiever."

My point that I was trying to make, evidently not well, was that for those new to the field, they need to make sure they stand out and don't get forgotten. Part of that is acting like a professional, showing the confidence that you will get the gig, knowing your audience and your mag, maintaining close communication, doing the follow up, and staying on top of the editor.

I wasn't meaning to paint editors as unfriendly, overbearing, hard asses. If it seemed that way, I apologize.
post #28 of 39
[QUOTE=Twocoolboys;12116164]Diane - I have more quesitons for you too! Now that I am in this for real, things are popping into my mind that I'm curious about. For instance, how long did it take you to feel like you weren't a rookie anymore?

It's been a gradual thing. I'm coming up on 2.5 years since I decided to try and make this my 'career' and there have been a few milestones that I've acknowledged along the way. But I've had to remind myself to see them and celebrate them if that makes sense. I would say though -it took 6-8 months of working steadily and seeing myself in print before I called myself a writer.

And, how many articles and queries do you write per month?

This is hard to say. Every mag works differently. I have a few contracts that spell out a certain number of features a year and for those we tend to hash out a list of story ideas when they set their calendar. For example I have 6-7 regular clients that I write for between 4-12 times a year. I query those books as ideas come up that I think will suit them but also do assigned stories. I also have another 6-7 target mags that I try to query every month or so.

I always have something on the go though - as soon as I see a gap coming in my schedule I tend to query like mad.

The second question I ask because now that I have truly started the 30 queries in 30 days, I'm finding that I can't do it. That's too much.

I couldn't do it either - It wouldn't be sustainable for me because I tend to be a feature writer. I put a lot into my queries. That said I probably spend 30% of my time on marketing (which I define as querying, touching base with editors by phone or email and networking), 5% on book keeping (I suck at book keeping and should bump it up), 10% on looking for story ideas and keeping up on magazines and the rest on researching and writing.


But, I'm wondering is that what the really successful writers do? Or do they do more?

They do what they can And it gets easier. When you have a few mags you write for regulary the whole process is a bit easier.
post #29 of 39
how long does it generally take to hear back on your queries? do you always get a response? I mean will they let you know they aren't interested or just ignore you if they aren't into your query idea?
post #30 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by rainbowmoon View Post
how long does it generally take to hear back on your queries? do you always get a response? I mean will they let you know they aren't interested or just ignore you if they aren't into your query idea?


I would say somewhere in the range of 30% of my queries disappear into internet land with no response, ever. The percentage was higher when I didn't follow-up. About half get responses on follow-up.

I have no generalities on when I hear back. The quickest was about 5 minutes ( a yes), the longest took a year (a no).
post #31 of 39
thanks Diane.

btw, is it ok to include estimated word counts on your query or should you let the editor decide? I am confused on that!

Also I haven't been sending samples of my work because I don't have any in print save one poem. I haven't really included anything about my work experience as a writer either because I only write for the web currently.. should I mention it though? also, should I be sending links to my web pieces?


Thanks for all the helpful info. here! I am LOVING this thread. I am going to actually ask Kelly to sticky it! :
post #32 of 39
[QUOTE=ceilydhmama;12121039]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twocoolboys View Post
[COLOR="Blue"]The second question I ask because now that I have truly started the 30 queries in 30 days, I'm finding that I can't do it. That's too much.

I couldn't do it either - It wouldn't be sustainable for me because I tend to be a feature writer. I put a lot into my queries. That said I probably spend 30% of my time on marketing (which I define as querying, touching base with editors by phone or email and networking), 5% on book keeping (I suck at book keeping and should bump it up), 10% on looking for story ideas and keeping up on magazines and the rest on researching and writing.


But, I'm wondering is that what the really successful writers do? Or do they do more?

They do what they can And it gets easier. When you have a few mags you write for regulary the whole process is a bit easier.
Both of your answers to these questions made me feel a bit better. I feel like I am in the remedial class. I've been working on the query process for one article idea for three days now. I realize my inexperience is slowing me down, but the process of investigating the mag, finding an expert to interview that I can name drop, and including relevant research tidbits to support the validity of the article is time consuming. (Not a complaint of the process, just a fact). Even with experience, I do not know if I could crank these out in a day. Your insights and continued encouragement, Diane, is always appreciated.
post #33 of 39
[QUOTE=rainbowmoon;12121178]thanks Diane.

btw, is it ok to include estimated word counts on your query or should you let the editor decide? I am confused on that!

I think the general consensus is if you give a word count you're limiting the editors opportunity to say yes. It's better to suggest a department where the story will fit.

Also I haven't been sending samples of my work because I don't have any in print save one poem. I haven't really included anything about my work experience as a writer either because I only write for the web currently.. should I mention it though? also, should I be sending links to my web pieces?

If you don't have much, just include a line that says 'writing samples available on request.' Then give a link to your online work.


-d
post #34 of 39
Thanks again. I think my ideas are good, but had no idea how to figure out word count and was confused on the samples. I think I will actually do that and put together some samples that I would use for print as it's obviously going to be different with key wording and SEO and things, I think that is kind of like more "filler" when writing for the web. But maybe I will just send them the link to my Bellaonline site too? associated content is not the kind of work I would write for print (save a few subjects and maybe product reviews). Which brings me to my next question? If you are submitting for short clips (recipes, product reviews,etc) would you just send them with the query?

Also, how long are your average queries for magazine articles? A few paragraphs or a couple of pages? Which is better? I am thinking more details would be better but is it really? or would it become annoying?
post #35 of 39
rainbowmoon: I've head a query should be no longer than a page. Mine have all been considerably shorter--1/3 to 1/2 a page. My sleep query (still working on it!) is going to be the longest so far, probably almost an entire page. It feels LONG and is a lot of work, but I need to be fairly detailed in order to clearly explain what my article will be about.

My natural haircare article query was very short, though (and got accepted). Short 'hook' basically followed by 'I'll cover this, this, this and this'--maybe 120 words max? That wasn't a feature article or anything though, just a fluffy piece, so I guess neither the editor nor I cared that much.
post #36 of 39
My queries are, at most, 4-5 short paragraphs. I typically start with an opener that shows I alter my voice to reflect a magazines style (this is often my future article's lede as well). The next graf is the 'nut graf' this is where I define what my article will be about in ONE sentence then give a few reasons for why I'm suggesting this article now. In the third graf I give a few more details to back up my article's point. This will be where I'll say which experts I plan to speak to and what the structure might look like. There are times where I don't even need this graf. The final bit is why I want to write the story and what my experience is.

I never go longer than this - there are times where an editor likes the idea and will ask for an expanded outline, but typically if you can't clearly explain your story in 2-3 paragraphs, you haven't found your story yet - you're writing about a subject.

As far as samples and clips go - be selective. If you have a few things online choose 2-3 specific examples that best fit the story you are querying.
post #37 of 39
thanks mamas! that's so very helpful!
post #38 of 39
OK... I have now sent *two* follow-up emails to the editor of my wedding piece. Actually, three. I emailed her saying 'Wassup?' maybe a month and a half ago, and she got me to make some revisions but said she definitely wanted the piece, and was working out which issue to use it in. Then I sent the revised version in, and haven't heard back since, despite two (identical!) emails asking politely what was up.

What do I do now? The last of those emails was only a few days ago. How long do I wait; and after that should I ring her, or what?
post #39 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
OK... I have now sent *two* follow-up emails to the editor of my wedding piece. Actually, three. I emailed her saying 'Wassup?' maybe a month and a half ago, and she got me to make some revisions but said she definitely wanted the piece, and was working out which issue to use it in. Then I sent the revised version in, and haven't heard back since, despite two (identical!) emails asking politely what was up.

What do I do now? The last of those emails was only a few days ago. How long do I wait; and after that should I ring her, or what?
Just phone - you're email may be going into a black hole or any number of things might be up.
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