Wednesday, 5 November 2008

#56 – When is it best to e-mail a pitch to an editor?

Or the secret of timing.

Best time to approach?
On a forum I frequent from time to time, an interesting topic recently came up: When is the best time to approach an editor?

Monday morning pile-up
The range of responses to this question was fascinating. Most writers seemed to agree that the worst place for your pitch to be is in the huge Monday morning e-mail pile up. But some said that editors often read e-mails on the weekend when they have a bit of peace and quiet. I can vouch for that – I’ve occasionally received an unexpected e-mail from an editor on a Sunday.

Friday afternoon and weekend mode
Others suggested avoiding Friday afternoon, as that is when weekend mode has kicked in and the mind is not on work. There’s a counter argument to that as well – perhaps a response is more likely when an editor is relaxed?

Print deadline
There were strong arguments for Tuesdays, others for Thursdays, and frankly it’s possible to argue any position with a reasonable degree of validity. But I think everyone would agree that the worst time to pitch is just before the print deadline.

All hands on deck
When the paper or magazine is about to go to press, it’s usually all hands on deck, fairly intense and there can often be a state of blind panic. So if you know which day of the week or date in the month press day is, don’t pitch then. Pitch a day or two afterwards when the ship has sailed.

Instant response
The other thing I try and do is to try and pitch when the editor is likely to be at their desk. This is purely because I know what I’m like – I’ll often respond to an e-mail straight away if it provides an opportunity to distract myself from what I am supposed to be doing.

E-mail backlog
An especially good time is when the editor is clearing the backlog of e-mails that have arrived since the end of the previous working day. Send then, and yours goes to the top. If not during, then just after is a good time – it’s still fresh, and the mind is still in response mode before starting to tackle meatier matters.

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