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

Writing Advice Without the B.S.

Don’t Call the Editor About Your Query: B.S.!-Part 2

with 4 comments

The general rule, “Don’t call the editor,” is B.S. Previously, I told you that it’s okay to call an editor if you know your story is great, if you have some bylines under your belt, and if you are comfortable with pitching over the phone.

Here’s another time when you should definitely call the editor: when your piece is time-sensitive.

If you have a piece that is time-sensitive, you must let the editor know this in your query. Ask the editor to please reply by the end of the day, week, etc. And, you should leave a message for the editor, too.  

Then, if you don’t hear from the editor, CALL! 

If the editor picks up, ask if she’s made a decision about your pitch. And if she hasn’t, stress that your piece is time-sensitive and that you’d appreciate it if she could let you know by fill in the blank because if she isn’t interested, you’d like to pitch it to another publication. 

And if you can’t reach the editor, you can leave this message with the editor’s assistant.

I’ve found that editors understand that some pieces are time-sensitive. A few years ago, I wrote a time-sensitive piece about Starbucks vs. McDonalds after reading a news article about the rivalry. I first submitted the piece to Harper’s. I knew that if I waited a too long for a reply, my piece would no longer be relevant. So, I called the editor’s assitant after less than 24 hours and explained that the piece was time-sensitive and that if the magazine wasn’t interested, I’d pitch it to another publication. The editor got back to me; he decided to pass on the piece. I then pitched that piece to the blog editor at The Huffington and he liked it. I was able to get the piece, Trading Down to McDonalds? McNot!  posted on The Huffington Post before the news went cold. (If you read the piece, you’ll see that the original news item that inspired my piece was published on 3/12 and that my piece was posted on 3/13.) 

So, don’t sit and wait for the editor to reply if your story is time-sensitive. CALL!

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Written by Wayne

August 9, 2011 at 12:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. “For those of you who do prefer McDonald’s, disparage means to belittle.”

    Even in a Huffington Post article, some of that trademark humor comes through.

    margaret y.

    August 9, 2011 at 7:35 am

  2. Good advice. I haven’t written articles (or anything shorter than novel-length for that matter), but I totally agree. Some topics are time sensitive and I don’t think anyone would mind a head’s up on that 🙂

    Jemi Fraser

    August 14, 2011 at 12:57 pm


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