6 Ways to Stay in Touch with Your Editors
1. Say Thanks
Whenever one of my articles hits the stands, I shoot a quick thank-you note to my editor. There’s always something to appreciate: I’m thankful for the assignment, or I like the way the piece was edited, or it was a pleasure working with the editor, or I enjoyed the artwork they used with my piece. I don’t send my thanks in a cheesy marketing way to get more eyeball-time with the editor; I really am thankful. Without these clients and these assignments, I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills.
I always send an e-mail, but if an editor really goes above and beyond, why not mail a nice card?
2. Send Gifts
February 2007 was the tenth anniversary of the publication of my very first article — a piece about informational interviewing for EEO Bimonthly Magazine. To celebrate, I sent the editor (who I still worked with occasionally) a box of Fairytale Brownies to share with his staff. I wouldn’t send an editor a gift just to send a gift — that’s creepy — but I like to send things when I have a good reason to. Some of my colleagues send their editors gifts at Christmas, which is also a great idea.
Need ideas? Check out my post 8 Editor Gifts for Under $30.
3. Keep Them in the Loop
If you see an article, press release, or bit of news you think would interest your editor, send it along. I do this if I find some info that seems perfect for the magazine but that I’m not interested in pitching or that I think would be great for a staff-written section. Editors appreciate it when you send them helpful information with no expectation of anything in return.
I like to send cards to my editors when they get promotions, get married, have babies, etc. When one of my editors was promoted to executive editor, I sent her a Mixed-Up Clichés Magnetic Poetry Kit. She loved it!
5. Send Holiday Greetings
I send holiday cards to all my editors. (I get my holiday cards from the Museum of Modern Art. If you shop their site right after Christmas, you can get some really good deals.) And don’t think you have to stick with the winter holidays: To avoid getting buried under an avalanche of cards, why not send cards for Thanksgiving, Halloween, or the 4th of July instead?
Many writers ask if they should include their business cards in their holiday cards. I vote no…it just seems tacky to me, as if your cards are just a thinly disguised marketing ploy. Send your cards out of the holiday spirit, not to beg for work.
6. Touch Base
Every few months, I send an e-mail to all my editors updating them on my recent assignments and asking if there’s anything I can do for them. I often land new assignments this way when my note hits the editor right as she has new articles to assign.
No matter how you keep in touch with your editors, I think it’s important to do it with a sense of gratitude. No one wants to feel like they’re being manipulated by a master marketer. I really appreciate my editors, so when I send them cards or gifts or news, it’s first off a way to express my gratitude for the client and only secondarily a way to remind my editors that I exist and am ready for work. [lf]