Do not pester the editor!

As some of you may know, I am an editor in my day job. That means I get plenty of letters, emails, faxes and calls from people who want to see their stuff in print. Press releases from marketing firms, mostly (I work in local newspapers), but other items, too.

Let me share with you my least favorite call in the world: “I’m calling to confirm that you got my email?”

Do not do this. I could go on a bitter tirade about why it’s irritating and why it’s unnecessary and why it defeats half the purpose of email, but I’m not feeling curmudgeonly today. Or at least, only mildly so. I don’t feel like ranting. So instead I will simply say: Do not do this.

Editors do not want these calls. They haven’t the time for these calls. They haven’t the time to track down your email and verify it for you. And by calling you certainly aren’t fooling them into getting into a discussion about your submission with them, because they know that’s exactly what you’re trying to do. You’re playing a game of, “Look at me!”

Do not do this. All games of “look at me!” manage to do is irritate the person you’re submitting to. A brief follow-up email is fine. If you’ve somehow gotten hold of the editor’s extension, phone calls like this — especially when they follow each and every email — are not.

I am not alone in this. This is not some personal pet peeve or bit of random crankiness. This really is a genuine disturbance and it really doesn’t do you any good. At times, it may do you the opposite of good. Ask a dozen other editors, no matter their corner of the print world, and most of them will tell you the same. Do not make this call. After all, if you’re a pain in the neck before we’ve even established a working relationship, how are you going to be after we’ve done so?

Calling to see if the editor has gotten your email. Do not do this.

1 Comment

  1. Eric D.

    Good luck with this… I have no doubt that members of your intended audience will *not* see or think of themselves when they read your piece.

    I'll call you this evening when you've just sat down to dinner with your family to verify if you've read my comment.

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