Now that I’ve had a taste of the editor’s life, I have a better idea of why many don’t respond right away to freelancers’ letters of introduction, queries, follow up emails and submitted manuscripts. The secret: it rarely has anything to do with the writer. Read on.
The top 25 reasons editors don’t get back to you faster:
1. They’re in a meeting.
2. They’re working on next year’s editorial calendar, which is late, and they still haven’t quite figured out what stories they’re doing when.
3. They’re in the run up to a day-long webinar for 3,000 subscribers the publication is hosting and haven’t thought of anything else for days.
4. They’re at a publishing industry convention figuring out how to do more with less.
5. They’re covering a convention.
6. They’re in another meeting.
7. They’re flying to a meeting.
8. They’re editing stories that have to go up on the site tomorrow.
9. Their 2010 budget is due and they’re figuring out how they can get by without having to cut freelance rates or lay someone off.
10. They’re unorganized.
11. They read your story/pitch/letter of introduction and are still trying to figure out where you or it could fit into the general scheme of things.
12. They read your story/pitch/letter of introduction and are still trying to figure out how to politely tell you thanks but no thanks.
13. They read your story/pitch/letter of introduction and are still trying to figure out how to tell you that you or it are fantastic but due to budget cuts they’re only paying 25 cents/word right now.
14. They’re getting fired, quitting or getting downsized out of a job.
15. They’re working on the editorial plan for a spin-off publication the publisher asked them to take on in addition to their regular responsibilities.
16. They’re working a column/letter from the editor/feature story and have locked themselves in a room with no phone or Internet access because it’s the only way they’ll ever get any writing done.
17. They’re hosting an editorial roundtable with industry bigwigs for their publications’ annual CEO perspective issue.
18. They’re in a day-long session with the publication’s market research team plotting out what reader surveys they need to do next year and how much it’ll cost.
19. They’re in bluelines.
20. They’re blogging.
21. They’re planning the company Christmas party.
22. They’re planning where they’re going to go over Christmas break.
23. They’re decluttering/cleaning/organizing their office.
24. They’re interviewing candidates for next semester’s internships.
25. They’re in, you guessed it, another meeting.