Listen to the Writer’s Market Podcast series. Each free episode includes a “Three Things” segment focused on helping writers find success with their writing. This one looks at three ways for writers to follow up.
As an editor, I can say, without a doubt, that following up is one of the true signs of a professional. In fact, writers who effectively follow up are much more likely to receive assignments from me.
FOLLOW UP ON SUBMISSIONS
If there’s a typical response time in the submission guidelines, wait for that time to elapse before following up. If there’s not a response time given, I’d advise following up a month after submitting—unless your pitch is super timely.
Be professional and phrase your follow up in a way that doesn’t point fingers and come off as an accusation. Rather, say something along the lines of “Just checking in on a submission I sent on X date and was wondering if there’s anything else you need from me,” or something along those lines.
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FOLLOW UP ON REJECTIONS
Rejections are part of the business, but you can still use these moments as an opportunity to make a good impression on an editor or agent. When you receive a rejection, thank the person for the response and ask when the next submission period is—or thank the person, while also including a new idea or two.
Both are strategies that have worked on me as an editor.
FOLLOW UP ON PAYMENT
You just got paid—so the whole submission to payment process is over, right? Not for the smart freelancer who wants to build relationships and get repeat assignments.
As soon as you receive payment, follow up with the editor to let them know, “Hey! I received my payment. Thanks so much! By the way, I have some new pitches for you, and here they are.” If you did a great job, then editors will appreciate knowing they can come back to you for future assignments.
In the business of freelance writing, professionalism is key, and there are few things more professional than a writer who follows up.
Until next time, keep writing and marketing what you write.
Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community. He edits the Writer’s Market and Poet’s Market books, writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine, maintains the Poetic Asides blog, co-hosts a podcast for writers with Brian A. Klems, speaks at conferences, leads online webinars and tutorials, and so much more.
Robert is also the author of Solving the World’s Problems, a poetry collection published by Press 53. A former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, he’s been a featured poet across the country at poetry events in Austin, Houston, Cleveland, Atlanta, and more.
Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.
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