Blog by Toby Welch

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How to Keep Editors Happy, Part 1

Editors are often the ticket to a writer getting published. Having them on your side is vital. Here are suggestions on how to get on an editor’s good side, compiled from men and women who hold the job:

- When pitching an idea to a book or magazine editor, do your research; make sure what you are proposing is in their scope of work. Don’t query a safety magazine an idea about doll houses. Don’t query a children’s book publisher your erotica story.

- When contacting an editor, make it clear right away what you want. Get right to the point in your query or cover letter.

- Triple check the spelling of an editor’s name and their gender before sending off your submission. Never assume an editor is male or female by their name.

- In a query letter bio, keep the details relevant to your writing career. The editor doesn’t want to hear that you are the president of your knitting club unless you are pitching a how-to book on knitting.

- Make sure your submission is crisp and clear; faded or unreadable fonts will annoy the editor.

- Don’t take writing critiques as a personal attack. When you’re asked to do edits or revisions, plaster a smile on your face and get to work.

- Never send work to an editor that isn’t your absolute best. Submitting a manuscript or query letter with typos and mistakes makes it easy for an editor to say no.

- If you snail mail something to an editor, clearly label the envelope and focus on neatness.

- With all snail mail correspondence, include a SASE with enough postage to get a response or your manuscript.

- Keep the paper used for correspondence simple; white or barely off-white is ideal. Handwritten queries on perfumed, flowery stationery won’t impress anyone.

- Keep your synopsis brief, one to two pages. A 50-page synopsis for a 200-page novel is ridiculous. And as painful as it is, reveal everything in the synopsis, including the ending.

Stay tuned for more tips next week!