About a year after I started freelancing, I was getting pretty good at accepting rejections. Instead of letting it ruin my day, I would view a “No, thank you” response (as I prefer to call them), as part of the game. Usually, I would take the query, give it another good look, tweak it if needed, and send it out to someone else.
I also became better at reading between the lines. When an editor of a trade publication responded that he had already assigned all the articles for the entire year, I took note of the date and filed it away. Several months later, I contacted him again and asked if there was room on next year’s calendar. Cha-ching! That initial rejection became my highest paying piece to date. The same article is working double duty this month, as an online editor just agreed to purchase reprint rights. This same editor, whom I had sold to before, offered two other assignments to me. By following up with the first editor, I have the opportunity to collect three additional paychecks!
Last summer I queried a new publication with a story that fit their writers’ guidelines and demographics perfectly. After several weeks with no response, I sent the query out again. A few weeks later, I received a request to submit the piece on spec. Now, five months later, I have confirmation that this piece will be published this summer. And the payment will by far surpass any of my previous sales.
“No, thank you” responses aren’t always what they seem. “No,” might not mean no, but just “not right now.” Editors are busy and new publications might not be terribly organized. If you think you have a good idea, keep pitching. Never underestimate the power of persistence.and patience.
Martha Miller is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Her work has appeared in Transitions Abroad, International Living, GoNomad.com, GoWorldTravel.com, ASU Travel Guide, WritersWeekly.com and Catholic Digest.Contact her at Martha_response at hotmail.com.