Saying 'Thank you'

Friday, August 22, 2008
by LuAnn Schindler

I wrote my first freelance piece when I was a high school junior. My class attended a career fair and I sat in on the journalism panel. I liked writing. I was good at it. I always knew I inherited the I-love-English gene from my dad, who was my high school English instructor.

The editor of the local newspaper led the group discussion, and we brainstormed story ideas and angles, just like a "big-time" newspaper would develop articles. It was fun and I was hooked. So at the end of the panel, the editor asked me if I would like to write one of the stories I'd mentioned during the discussion. Naturally, I said yes.

After the story was published, the editor sent a personal, handwritten note to me that said thanks for the story and keep up the good work.

I never forgot about the power associated with that thank you note.

When I was editor of a literary magazine, I always wrote a personal thank you note to authors of the stories I selected for publication. It just seemed like the right thing to do. Those writers made my job enjoyable, and I felt lucky to be able to promote their writing talents.

Now, as a freelancer, I think it's important to say thank you to those people who play a part in helping me develop a story. After one of my stories goes to print, I send a thank you postcard to sources I interviewed for the article. I thank them for their time, their expertise, and their stories. I also let them know the publication date, in case they missed it.

Those thank you notes are a good piece of PR. It keeps a writer's name in front of a source. And sometimes, those sources have called or emailed and led me to another story.

Consider the power of a thank you note the next time someone offers a story. It just might lead to more opportunities.


Shelli said...

I agree. I love thank you notes, and I love to send them. One time I had a small party and then a couple of my friends sent me a thank you note for having them over! That was so thoughtful. I began to do that myself.

If I'm ever lucky enough to get published, I'll be sure to send thank you notes as well!

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