Thursday, March 31, 2011

5 Ways to Make an Editor Smile

by Priscilla Y. Huff Editors of magazines, publishing houses, and other content media are VERY busy people. The more you make their jobs easier, the happier they are. Here are five ways to make them smile and increase your odds of getting published: 1) Knowing their publication! Study their writer’s guidelines, their audience (target readers), plus read back issues or books they publish to see if your style and subject matter matches theirs. 2) Being a professional. Send queries or proposals in the correct format (stipulated in author’s or writer’s guidelines), to the current editors (addressed to specific persons) who handle those specific topics, and with a succinct cover letter introducing your manuscript and what qualifies you to write it. 3.) Catching their attention with the first few sentences of your query letter and/or manuscript. Good fiction and nonfiction writers “hook” readers into their stories from the start. Editors read query letter after query letter and many book proposals, so make yours a “standout.” 4) Writing in an “active” voice. Instead of writing “You should always turn off the lights when you leave a room,” say “Turn off all lights when you leave a room.” 5) Delivering what you promised. When your assignments or manuscripts are finished, review and check to see you have followed the editors’ specific requests as to exact word length, manuscripts’ set-up, and of course, their deadlines. Editors have strict timelines and delays are costly, so make them happy and get your work in on time. These are just a few ways to please an editor. Better for your writing career to make an editor smile, rather than frown.

Suggested Further Reading:

  • The Everything® Get Published Book, Completely Updated, All You Need to Know to Become a Successful Author by Meg Schneider & Barbara Doye

  • Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go by Les Edgerton

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