Saturday, 1 November 2008

#53 – Why editors don’t respond to your e-mails

Or the quest for acknowledgement.

Lack of acknowledgement from editors
One of the most painful aspects of being a freelancer is that often editors will not even acknowledge your pitch. It may the greatest idea in the world, and you may be just the person to write it, but that response just won’t come back. The bastards.

From the writer’s perspective, this can be immensely frustrating. Perversely, a rejection often feels better than no response at all – at least the editor has acknowledged you exist.

Editor’s perspective
But from an editor’s perspective, it is virtually impossible to respond to every pitch. Put simply, editors are usually bombarded by pitches from well-meaning freelancers. They may start out with the intention of responding to every enquiry, but such a policy is incredibly difficult to maintain.

Sheer weight of bad pitches
As I’ve said before, often your competition in this game is not the really good freelance writers, but the sheer weight of bad ones. When an editor is besieged with enquiries, he or she will justifiably assume that most of them are rubbish. The query stockpile will be glossed over at best, and ignored at worst.

Supply and demand
Unless your name is already known to the editor (through previous work for them or from elsewhere), or you get lucky, your pitch is unlikely to get the attention it possibly deserves. The editor is not the one to blame for this – it’s pure supply and demand. And this is why it is best to follow up a pitch a few weeks later.

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