Friday, 5 September 2008

#5. Find the editor’s real e-mail address

Or how to get past the filtering system

When sending a pitch to an editor for the first time, one of the key things is to send that pitch to correct e-mail address. This seems fairly self-explanatory, doesn’t it? But it’s not quite as simple as you might think.

Using the e-mail address from the masthead
The trap that many freelance writers will fall into when sending a first pitch to an editor they have not contacted before is that they will use the e-mail address that is printed as the editor’s address in the masthead of the magazine/ contents section of the paper.
Believe it or not, this address is rarely the editor’s actual address.

Generic editorial contacts act as filters
Many publications will put the editorial contact as something like or If it is something this generic, then the address is almost certainly a holding pen. It is used as a filter to stop the editor’s real address being bombarded with letters from readers, press releases from PR companies and – most importantly – pitches from freelancers.
Most e-mails sent to this address will eventually get read, but it could be by any member of the editorial team.

Phone up and ask reception
So how do you find the editor’s real e-mail address? The one where e-mail goes to them, or them alone? There are a few ways. The best is to simply phone up and ask. If the person on reception gives the same address that is printed in the magazine, rephrase the question.

Company e-mail format
Ask what the editor’s name is – being careful to get the correct spelling – and ask what the company’s e-mail format is. It may be or – something like that. Either way, it’s a fair bet that the editor’s direct address follows that format.

Intelligent guess from the masthead
Of course, it is possible to make an intelligent guess at this direct address from looking at the masthead. Often the advertising people on a publication WANT to be contacted directly – they will have their real address printed in the masthead.
From that, it can be easy to deduce the company’s e-mail format. Apply it to the editor’s name, and you should strike gold.

1 comment:

Robin Noelle said...

When I absolutely CANNOT find or guess the email and I'm forced to send it to the slush box, I at least put the editor's name in the subject and address my email to them personally. I find my emails make their way much more quickly to the correct person this way.

Ms. Jones: Query--story title
for example.