Wanna Get Paying Work? An Editor’s Open Letter to New Writers Who Don’t Yet Know What the (Bleep) They’re Doing

Wanna Get Paying Work? An Editor’s Open Letter to New Writers Who Don’t Yet Know What the (Bleep) They’re Doing

Some might find this article a bit harsh. But, if you saw what I see every day, and what I’ve been seeing every day for more than 18 years, you’d probably understand my frustration. 

I’m writing this article so that, when I plow through dozens of messages from new writers each day (yes, I receive DOZENS of “hire me!” emails each day), I can simply copy and paste this link for them.

This will:

1. Save me from needing to explain all of these issues several times each day.

2. Prevent me from deleting dozens of emails per day…which is what I’ve been doing. After all, if a potential freelancer can’t be bothered to research our website, why should I be bothered to respond to their inappropriate email?


These are examples of real messages I have received, through our website, from new writers who don’t yet know what the (bleep) they’re doing:

1. I want to write articles for you.
(Then please review our writer’s guidelines. The link was at the top of the page that you used to send me this message. In fact, it’s at the top of every page on our website.)

2. I’m attaching an article for your fine publication about (insert any NON-WRITING-RELATED topic here).
(Why would a writing- and publishing-related publication want to publish an article on ballet, or fishing, or childbirth, or any other topic not related to writing or publishing?)

3. Please hire me.
(Why should I hire you? What are your qualifications? And, more importantly, why haven’t you followed the instructions in our writer’s guidelines when contacting me?)

4. How much do you pay?
(This question is answered on our website, in our writer’s guidelines.)

5. Do you accept guest posts?
(We hire freelancers to write features and success stories. We do not allow “guest posts” in areas that are exclusively written by myself, Brian Whiddon, or Richard Hoy, which are all full-time employees. And, this is explained in our writer’s guidelines.)

6. What kind of articles are you looking for?
(If you’d bothered to read our writer’s guidelines, you’d know.)

7. Do you accept writers from countries like (insert any non-U.S. location here).
(This question is answered in our guidelines as well!)

8. I was wondering if you would be interested in a unique article written exclusively for your website at no charge to you.
(We don’t publish advertorials, which is clearly stated in our guidelines.)

9. I would like to know if you accept paid blogs…
(This usually means they’re asking if we will pay them to blog for us. Again, this is answered in our writer’s guidelines.)

10. I know you are busy but have you had time to respond to my (completely inappropriate) email last week?
(Yes, I am busy and, yes, I’m too busy to respond to your query about basketball, pet rocks, medical malpractice, politics, or anything not even remotely related to writing or publishing. If you can’t be bothered to even research our publication, much less the NAME of it – WritersWeekly – then why should I be bothered to respond to your completely inappropriate email?)

11. Why didn’t you respond to the email I sent last week to you and several of your competitors?
(Bulk emailing numerous editors at the same time, with a generic greeting like “Dear Sirs,” shows you haven’t researched our publication. You are obviously assuming we are just like all of our competitors. It also shows that you don’t care enough about your own success to individually and professionally contact each individual editor, and tailor your query to their specific publication.)

Attn: New, Hopeful, Wanna-be Writer

Whenever you enter a new industry, and are hoping to get paying work in that industry, it helps immensely if you actually RESEARCH that industry before you approach a potential employer. Believe me…we can all tell who has done their homework and who hasn’t.

RULE 1: Research the publication

It’s really simple. Do not pitch a sports article to a publication for writers. Do not pitch a fishing article to a dance magazine. Editors detest writers who can’t even bother to read the publication’s name before sending them an email.

RULE 2: Read the writer’s guidelines

Our website, WritersWeekly.com, has an entire page of guidelines designed to inform professional writers of what we’re looking for. Most professional media organizations publish these on their sites. They’re called Writer’s Guidelines, or Contributor’s Guidelines. On our website, we make it easy. We have a link at the top of every page on our site that simply says “Write For Us.” If you received this article link from me, you didn’t bother to check our website for any such link.

RULE 3: Send a QUERY LETTER!

After you read a firm’s writer’s guidelines, you will need to send them a QUERY LETTER. This is the industry standard for approaching a firm that hires freelance writers for specific articles. Sending impersonal, generic emails that don’t follow a publication’s guidelines will result in a rejection, or no response from the editor whatsoever.

You can read more about query letters, and see real ones, in this book:

QUERY LETTERS THAT WORKED! Real Queries That Landed $2K+ Writing Assignments

RULE 4: Do not send the same email or query simultaneously to dozens or hundreds of editors. There’s no faster way to get blacklisted by an editor than by doing this wasteful and fruitless task. Doing this does NOT produce paying work. In fact, it has the opposite effect. It takes a mere second for an editor to block your emails, sending all of your future messages to their spam folder. Simultaneous submissions are fine, provided they are emailed out one-at-a-time. Bulk emails are NOT acceptable.

RULE 5: Do NOT offer to write for free!

Offering free articles is the #1 sign of an amateur. Promote yourself professionally. Professionals don’t work for free.

RULE 6: Subscribe!

If a publication is free, subscribe to not only support them, but to also learn more about them before pitching an article idea. You can subscribe to WritersWeekly HERE.

So, why haven’t I provided the specific link to our writer’s guidelines in this article? Because, while you are looking for that link (it’s very easy to find), you can take the time to research our publication by reviewing what we’ve published recently, and in the past. Only then should you query us.

If your proposed article is not writing- or publishing-related, do not fret! We have hundreds of paying markets for writers on our site, which are searchable. They are HERE.

RELATED:

QUERY LETTERS THAT WORKED! Real Queries That Landed $2K+ Writing Assignments

Paying Markets for Writers and Photographers – and their current needs!

Don’t Waste Your Time on Pipe Dreams! Do REAL Writing Work for REAL Money!

If This Article Offends You, You’re Not a Professional Writer

World’s Worst Query Letters and Book Proposals

Subscribe to WritersWeekly. It’s FREE!

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Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).

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Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.

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2 Responses to "Wanna Get Paying Work? An Editor’s Open Letter to New Writers Who Don’t Yet Know What the (Bleep) They’re Doing"

  1. pamelaallegretto  July 1, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Good luck with the “copy/paste” responses.

    Reply
  2. Mary Ann DeSantis  June 29, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    Thank you, Angela. I just crossed over from being a full-time freelancer to an editor of a small regional magazine. I’m horrified at the message blurbs (not even letters) I’m receiving from writers. How are they surviving as freelancers? And don’t even get me started on some of the writers who can’t seem to follow guidelines no matter how many times they’ve been reminded. The last two months have opened my eyes as to why so many editors do not want to open emails from writers they don’t know. I sent a letter to regular contributors when I took over as editor — my husband called it the “new sheriff in town” letter because I was adamant that I expected writers to follow our style guidelines and to meet deadlines. The publication’s former editor let writers slide by three or four weeks, which caused some major issues during our transition. In a way, I am relieved to know other editors are dealing with the same craziness and it’s not just me.

    Reply

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