Even though for many editors, the less contact you make, the happier they’ll be, there will most likely be times whenever you definitely ought to call the editor.

Clarification: If you get the assignment and don’t understand something, ask the editor. For example, I received an email from an editor to accept a query of mine, but she asked me to write the article from the perspective of a newsletter editor. I was pretty sure she has just dashed off the e-mail quickly and had truly meant that I should write the article for newsletter editors, not necessarily writing in first-person as one myself, but rather than make assumptions, I wrote to check.

A Change of Path: Call whenever you find something that might change the direction of your article. Let’s say your assignment was to write an article about how married ladies are healthier than single women. But along the way, all from the research you turn up shows that married ladies visit doctors a lot more, take much more sick days, have more heart attacks, and so on. Now’s the time to call your editor and inform her that a new angle may be in order. Of course, if you pitched the article within the initial place, you are risking looking quite stupid (you ought to have done preliminary analysis before ever pitching it), but it’s probably better than having the story fall apart in fact-checking right before it’s scheduled to become published. If it was something that she assigned, she may have other research to show you, or she may be apt to let you take the other angle you’ve discovered.

Deadline Extensions: If you’re going to be late for your deadline, tell your editor. I’m amazed by the number of editors who complain that freelance writers fail to meet deadlines. With all the competition out there, how could writers possibly not take their assignments seriously? Literally thousands of other writers are out there eager to take the place of any writer getting published, so how could anyone be so sloppy as to turn in an article late without permission?

Asking your editor a few questions here or there is expected; just do not use the editor as a crutch, teacher, or mentor. That’s not the editor’s job. You are being paid to be the expert here. You ought to be able to get a feel rapidly for which editors prefer to become more involved and which ones would somewhat not be contacted much.

When an editor compliments me on my work, in addition to the fact that my head swells a great three inches in diameter, I also pay careful attention: Precisely what is it that I’ve done right?

Accessibility: Easy to read and understand. Not because my writing is “dumbed down,” but rather, simply because it is conversational. It takes some practice to learn how you can present facts and analysis in a conversational manner. Rather than writing with your editor or a vast audience of readers in thoughts, it helps me to imagine I’m writing an email to a friend. A extremely well-thought out and organized email, mind you, but an email nonetheless.

Make a Dry Subject Fun: Discover stories behind the stories. Surprise readers by making a fact-filled article entertaining.

Fact or Fiction: Along these same lines, some of the best nonfiction articles read more like condensed novels. They are stuffed with sensory description and “scenes” to draw the reader into the story. We hear the “show, don’t tell” rule for fiction, but many nonfiction writers overlook this.

Ask: As frequently as feasible, instead of lecturing your reader, show him. Work to let him get drawn into your story the exact same way you’d want him to obtain wrapped up in your novel or short fiction.

Show the editor that you can make her job easier and that you’re there for her whenever she needs you and she’s likely to name on you again and again.

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