Wayne E. Pollard's No B.S. Blog for Writers

Writing Advice Without the B.S.

Think Like an Editor: B.S.!

with 3 comments

I recently read a tip for freelancers that said you should put yourself in the editor’s shoes when submitting a query.


I don’t know how an editor thinks… but I have a pretty good feel for how my target publication’s readers think. How? I put myself in the readers’ shoes. Do this, and you will get more of your pieces published.

Know why readers will stop and read your article. For example, when I pitched my article, “Confessions of a Software Salesman” to an editor at CIO magazine, I explained that my article will help her readers (IT executives who buy software) save hundreds of thousands of dollars.

To think like the readers, you have to do more than just read the submission guidelines; you need to check out the one thing that writers often overlook: the publication’s media kit. You’ll find it in the Advertising Info section on the publication’s web site. You’re looking for the demographic info about the readers, information that will help you better understand them. Then, in your query or pitch, tell the editor exactly why his readers will want to read your article and use the stats from the media kit to support your claim. Say something like, “My article will appeal to working mothers between ages 35 and 50 and according to your media kit, 75% of your readers fall into this category.”

You get the idea.

Think like the reader.


Written by Wayne

August 4, 2011 at 12:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. “Think like the reader” is the ultimate golden advice. But I do occasionally wonder what the hell some editors are thinking when they publish the same article over and over again, with just microscopic slants! 🙂

    And I would really love to have more editors out there who just didn’t forget what it was like to be a writer, as many editors were writers before. Yes, I know they are busy, but many serious writers are just as busy. I mean we are our own assistant/marketer/blogger/writer/muse/editor/researcher….

    One day I got so sick of reading how busy all editors were (it is like saying the sky is blue!), I came up with a post called “What Editors Could Learn from the Movie Up in the Air”. In the movie, companies hired another company to fire people. Unpleasant? Yes. But at least the guys knew where they stood. So I suggested editors hired people just to tell writers that they are not hired. How hard can it be to assign an intern to mass e-mail “Sorry, but no.”?

    I know it is not going to happen. But it would save us and them a lot of time. After all, not answering us results in follow-up calls and e-mails, which clutter their mailbox and waste more of their time…

    Sorry for the rant:)

    Pinar Tarhan

    August 10, 2011 at 9:18 am

    • Don’t be sorry, Pinar–I agree with you!!

      And thanks for your comment, I appreciate it.

      Wayne E.

      August 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm

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