Few writers know this, but Editorial Assistants (EAs) are the gatekeepers of publishing. In the world of towering slush piles and deep agented-submissions bins, EAs are often the first to look at submissions. They screen calls and fend off anxious authors and would-be authors. In book publishing (and, I would guess, magazine publishing as well), the proper care and feeding of Editorial Assistants is the key to gaining an Editor’s attention and developing a solid relationship with your publisher. Following these tips from the front may make all the difference between rejection and acceptance, avoidance and attention.
– Understand the psychology. EAs think like this: it is my job to protect my boss’ time. It’s really that simple. Editors are ridiculously busy with many aspects of the business in addition to acquiring and editing, so the role of the Gatekeeper is paramount.
– Make sure your submission is professional. Chocolates are like free address labels – they’re nice, but no one thinks, “I should reciprocate and give this extra attention.