Communicating with an editor isn’t the same as communicating with a friend. With an editor you have to be more formal. You want to do your best to make a good impression on an editor because editors get many, many emails and if you don’t make a good impression they can easily move on to the next person. Here’s how you can make a good impression on any editor.
1. Get the editor’s name right
Almost the first thing an editor will see in your email is his/her name, so you want to get it right. Even if you researched two weeks ago and got an editor’s name, double check before you submit or query because editors can change often. An editor might not care if they have just gotten the job, but don’t take the chance that an editor will be offended. It doesn’t take long to double check. Bookmark contact pages so that you can access them quickly when you need to.
2. Open with an appropriate salutation
You’re not writing to a friend, so you don’t want to begin an email by saying “yo” or “howdy.” Salutations such as those appear too casual. Instead use “hello” or “dear.” These are more formal and show that you see this as a professional communication.
3. Follow the submission guidelines
Guidelines are put out for a reason. That is the way a particular editor wants things done. It doesn’t matter why, but what does matter is that you follow them. You will find some guidelines to be simple to follow, while others seem more complicated. Your job is to follow them. If the guidelines say no submissions via email and you submit via email, the chances that you hear back will be slim. If you do hear back you might get a bit of a scolding, which is always embarrassing. But even worse the editor will know that you either didn’t read the guidelines or you chose to ignore them.
4. Use the subject line
As a writer you should use the subject line differently when emailing an editor. You could say “hello,” but that doesn’t grab the attention of the editor. Use the subject line to let him know what your email is about. If it’s a query, write query. If it’s an article submission, say that. It also doesn’t hurt to put the subject or title of the piece in the subject line. If you want make a good impression on an editor, use the subject line in a way that gives them an idea of what’s inside before they open it.
Making a good impression on editors isn’t a difficult task once you know the “rules.” And making a good impression on editors and having a long-lasting relationship is important to having a successful writing career.