Do’s, Don’ts, and Editors – Part 2

Updated: Nov 13th, 2009

As promised, here is the second part of my series of “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for working with Editors.  Enjoy!

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a list of editors who accept your articles for every one of their issues? Realistically, though, freelance writing isn’t always that stable. However, you can settle for second best…getting your work into their magazines as frequently as possible.

With a little up front work, some flexibility, and remaining open…you can!

Follow these Nine “Do’s” to help establish a relationship you actually want with editors. Then your odds of getting second, third, fourth, and even more articles accepted will be raised.

  1. When you submit a completed article to an editor, try sending a pitch for a new article idea. Because it’s so much easier to get repeat business with the same editor, rather than hunting down and “breaking in” a new editor, this actually works. If the editor politely declines your pitch, try another idea. Editors appreciate your loyalty to their magazine and respect your persistence.
  2. Pitch one and only one idea at a time and only when you have completed your previous piece.  Bombarding an editor with several ideas simultaneously can overwhelm him or her. Besides, they may actually want to see if you can complete one piece before starting another story.
  3. Demonstrate your flexibility. Use my motto of “whatever they want, they get”.  Let’s say I proposed an article on fall foliage for a September edition of a magazine. The editor tells me he was thinking more along the lines of an unusual Thanksgiving trip. Do I persist with fall foliage? Nope. I will offer suggestions for celebrating an all day Thanksgiving feast at Hotel Del Coronado.
  4. Always remain open to the changes an editor recommends, and don’t take it personally if he or she edits your article down. Likewise, if an editor wants you to write a sidebar to enhance your article, do it. Do it well and do it quickly. If you are sent a proof of your article to check for errors, do it thoroughly, and send it back within a day or two.
  5. Deliver well-written articles and deliver them on time. Doing so will help gain an editor’s trust. If I promise my editors the article they request within three weeks, then I deliver within two weeks or less.
  6. Never promise an article you can’t deliver. That will guarantee a closed door to any future relationship with the editor.
  7. Don’t play games with editors. Be honest when working with them. Let’s say you have an article accepted by editors of two competing magazines. What do you do? I suggest contacting the second editor and telling him or her your story was taken. This would be a good time to ask if he or she would be interested in another article about a related topic.
  8. If you’re behind schedule with an article, keep the editor updated on your progress. Things happen and editors know this. But they also are counting on you delivering. Most of the time they will work with you.
  9. One way to catch an editor’s attention…use strong verbs to immediately improve everything you write. Many writers use weak verbs. And it shows as their articles come across as “loose” or have too many extra words in it.  On the other hand, when your verbs are strong, your writing is “tighter.” Why? Because descriptive verbs help you paint pictures. This eliminates the need for unnecessary adjectives and adverbs.

Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to publishing success!


About Wendy VanHatten 11 Articles

Wendy VanHatten left the corporate world to become a professional freelance travel writer and author. In addition she is an editor, travel business owner, author of a variety of published books, and photographer.

Currently, Wendy is writing several books on such topics as women and success, positive travel experiences, and recipes combined with destinations.  She continues to write several times a week on her blog Her website,, features sample articles, photos, services and links, and her newest ebook can be found at



  1. I found this tips to be very helpful. I’ll keep my “pitch” to one good idea and then take it from there.

  2. Most people have issues with flexibility. They get used to writing in one style or voice and that’s it. It’s good to expand your horizons — Change does not have to be scary…

  3. Nice article. Thanks for the reminders about editors. It’s easy to forget to dos and dont’s..

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