5 Ways Editors Make Freelance Writers Feel Small

How an imbalanced relationship can harm a writer’s self worth.

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Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash
  1. Sign up for Sonia Weiser’s newsletter. It’s a $3/month suggested donation and she rounds up as many calls for pitches on Twitter as she can find into her twice-weekly newsletter. I’ve been subscribing for two years, and I’ve sold two pitches. It has more than paid for itself. I tell every freelance writer I know or work with to get this newsletter. It’s very good because it contains action items, not just advice. (Though she’s great at advice, too.)
  2. Pitch a complete, concise, purposeful story or essay idea. Never email an editor and expect them to assign something to you. It’s actually not their job to come up with great ideas, it’s yours. That’s why we’re so valuable!
  3. Don’t tell editors your life story when you pitch them. Your email intro should be very brief and quickly link to your website or portfolio in case an editor wants to know more about you. You’re (hopefully) selling them on the pitch, not on you.
  4. Follow up once, briefly, then move on. I follow a seven day rule. I send a quick follow-up email seven days after sending a pitch. If I haven’t heard back seven days after that, I assume an editor isn’t interested, and I either write the piece on Medium, or ask myself what about this pitch could have been stronger, so that I get better at pitching for next time.

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that. Host of A Single Serving Podcast. shanisilver[at]gmail

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