Tips for Writers to Please Editors and Make Sales
Another guest post from Grant McDuling’s series on the business of selling your writing. by Grant McDuling Do you understand what editors want from you, the self-employed writer? Or do you think you know? Don’t make the fatal mistake of submitting what you thinkthey need; that will most likely result in another rejection letter. How do you find out what they want? Simple. You could do worse than just asking them. You could also check out their websites for their guidelines. Remember, it is the editor who is your first target and not the readers of the publication. The readers are, at this stage, merely your secondary target. That’s not to say you should disregard them — their requirements will ultimately be what you aim to satisfy, but it’s done via the gatekeeper – the editor.
What Do Editors Want from Writers?
- They want professionalism.
- They want you to approach them correctly in the first instance, with a query letter stating clearly what your story idea is, why it would suit their publication, and how it will appeal to their readers.
- Editors want strong stories with real substance.
- You must be able to do justice to a good story idea.
- Editors like their writers to stick to the story. Avoid drifting from the point or waffling.
- Of course, editors do not tolerate plagiarism.
- Most don’t like articles that have simply been rewritten from a different angle or perspective. There are exceptions, but generally editors look for originality to creating a competitive advantage for their publication in a cluttered marketplace.
- Editors want you to understand the audience you are writing for.
- Editors expect you to produce every article you write to the very best of your ability.
- Most editors will EXPECT you to be a talented writer.
- Editors will also expect you to TARGET their magazine. They will not take kindly to ideas or articles that do not fit in well with the overall feel of the magazine.
- Editors want to see a track record. It gives them some reassurance that you know what is expected of you and that you can deliver.
- Editors will generally expect you to earn your pay checks. They will expect you to offer value and good service for money.
- Every editor expects to be respected as an authority in his or her field. Don’t presume you know better when it comes to what their readers want, what angles work, and how each article must be written. Treat them with dignity and be courteous – they are, after all, the ones who’ll decide your fate in this business.
I suppose it comes down to decency and common sense. Don’t behave irrationally and don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Develop good relationships with your clients and you’ll go a long way. Produce what they want, sooner than they want it and at a fair price, and you’ll survive in one of the world’s toughest professions. To read more, download my Kindle book Write For A Living In 7 Easy Steps (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004T4LH28).
Grant McDuling is a Brisbane-based author of 35 books, so far. He has published three as Kindle books and says that since buying a Kindle, his reading habits have changed. Grant is a well-known ghostwriter, having written for a range of clients all over the world, Many of his books are now international best sellers with sales in the millions. Grant has been writing since 1978. His other interests include amateur radio, computers, electronics and classical music. He is also working hard at improving his golf swing.
Read Part 1 of Grant’s series on writing for a living. The Business of Writing — How to Make a Living as an Author or Writer