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Friday, November 22, 2013


Friday Speak Out!: How to Maintain a Professional Rapport with Editors, Guest Post by Clara Freeman

Recently, I spoke with an editor of a lifestyle and entertainment magazine I’d done work with several years ago. I looked the editor's publication up beforehand, to refresh my memory about their guidelines, and to get a feel for what new trends the magazine was incorporating since I’d last visited their publication.

Confident that my work as a motivational columnist was a step up from the published article in the entertainment section from days of old, I decided to reconnect with the editor and pitch a new idea for the premiere issue of the magazine. Needless to say, the interchange went well. It was agreed that I would pen a “motivational moment” column for the magazine for which I would be compensated.

When the contract arrived, however, there was one slight eye-opener that I hadn’t bargained on. The editor selected the title for my agreed upon column, from which I was expected to write the article! I was dumbfounded to say the least and a bit disappointed. But, I signed on the dotted line and produced the column with the magazine’s headline.

In the end, the transaction with the editor went off without another hitch. I was paid for my work and asked to contribute to the magazine on a regular basis. In declining the offer (in lieu of paying markets) I asked that the editor to consider spreading the word about my expertise in the personal development and empowerment genre, to which she readily agreed.

The few nuggets of magazine etiquette I’ve learned over the course of several years of writing for magazines could fill a very small hole, but, they are valuable pieces of gold that’s worth it to any writer trying to break into the print magazine market.

Do the research. It doesn’t matter if you’ve written for the magazine before. Times change and magazines change along with the times. Here are a few other facts to consider when making your pitch to magazine editors:

1. Make sure your pitch stands out by answering the editor’s question of “What’s in it for me?” In other words, what’s the take away value that will guarantee the editor’s satisfaction and outshine your competitors who are vying for the same gig?

2. Maintain a polite and professional attitude.

3. Be open to suggestions and don’t quibble about the magazine’s intent for your piece. I admit I had several titles to choose from for my article, but, accepted the magazine’s title which complimented their vision. My column title remained intact, so the article’s title wasn’t something to make a big deal about.

4. End the experience on a positive note and offer to write for the magazine again. Also spread the word about the positive treatment you received from the editor and always address them by their names!

5. Continue to write and hone your skills as an expert in the areas of your interest and don’t be afraid to approach editors with your article suggestions that will help make their magazine sparkle. And, if you do get rejected? No worries, just hit them up again the following year with an even better pitch.

* * *
Clara Freeman is a freelance writer, motivational author and coach. A former nurse, certified in leadership and coaching, she parlayed a longtime nursing career into a business brand for women empowerment, where she serves as advocate and mentor to women on the path to living authentic lives. Her articles have been published in numerous magazines, including Costco Magazine, Working Nurse Magazine, and Women in Business 101 Magazine and Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine.

To learn more about Clara’s work, visit her website at . You can also download a copy of her popular eBook, “My Life toward Authenticity-My Authentic Woman Story

Follow Clara on Twitter @ C50something.
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Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


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Blogger Sioux said...

Clara--You are so right. If we don't remain professional and polite--if we get our feathers all ruffled because of our egos--we won't achieve the level of success we would like.

Writing by way of nursing? THAT is an interesting route...

4:29 AM  
OpenID clara54 said...

Hey Sioux,

Thanks for sharing. When we allow ego to rule, we lose out on possibility and opportunity. And, yes,I was always a writer even when nursing:)
The stories I encountered on a daily basis filled me up with gratitude, weakened me and motivated me to create and make a positive difference with my writing.

5:10 AM  
Blogger said...

Thank you for this. Good tips for someone like me, who is just trying to break into the magazine-pitch process. :)

8:50 AM  
OpenID clara54 said...

Well, you're welcome. Congratulations on taking the magazine writing plunge!Just view it as a work in process:)

9:16 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

Nice tips, Clara! I have to admit, I'm one of those editors who almost always changes the title of a freelancer's article--but only for search engine purposes. Usually the title is fun for those in the know (like writers who don't plot using "pantsers" in the title as a complete explanation), but not for people searching for that topic on Google. I explain why I'm doing it though, so the writer doesn't think I'm completely evil! ;)

11:03 AM  
OpenID clara54 said...

Thank you Angela!
For sharing your editor insights. Writers really appreciate feedback in regards to work submitted to magazines/other publications.

There's a reason editors do what they do and I suppose that makes you human, after all:)

12:49 PM  
Blogger Julie Luek said...

Good tips and from my experience, I would say spot on. I've learned a few hard lessons along the way, and this truly is the best policy.

11:06 AM  
OpenID clara54 said...

I agree Julie,

Why should writers make a mountain out of a molehill? Discernment lessons learned along the way to getting our work accepted and published.

3:12 PM  

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