5 Freelancing Faux Pas


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5 Freelancing Faux Pas


April Aragam

Copyright © 2013, April Aragam, All Rights Reserved



Freelance writing can sometimes be a frustrating business. Editors are busy people who receive hundreds of emails in a month. It's important that you don't waste their time, or your own, by committing a freelancing faux pas. This article outlines 5 freelancing faux pas that you may be committing.


1. You submit to a magazine without reading the guidelines or the publications

This might be the biggest mistake that a freelance writer can make. You can never assume from the title of a magazine that you know exactly what they are looking for. While you might know the general topics of the magazine, you must study the publication to get a feel for their style. Guidelines are important for understanding what the publication is looking for in terms of word count and the sections that they need freelancers for. If you submit something and it's obvious that you don't know what the publication is about, you will make a less than impressive first impression.


2. You email an editor before the requested amount of time

You've read the guidelines which state it will take 5 months to hear back from them regarding your submission. You get extremely impatient after just 3 months and figure it won't hurt to shoot the editor and email and ask about the status of your submission. The guidelines give you a specific amount of time for a reason. They don't want everyone emailing them regarding their submissions before the given time. Sometimes it's hard to be patient, but it's better than annoying an editor.


3. You email a query or submission when they request snail mail only

Always go along with what the guidelines state. Just because you see an email address doesn't mean you can submit via email, especially if the guidelines state “snail mail only.” Submitting the wrong way is a clear sign that you either don't read guidelines or you ignore them. Neither is something an editor wants to learn about you.


4. You badmouth a publication/editor in public

This is a no-no in the freelancing world. If you do have a concern or complaint, it's best to take it up with the publication first, but you can also talk privately to a fellow writer who might have good advice for you. If you know someone else who has written for the same publication you can speak to them about what you've experienced. Sometimes when many people experience the same negative thing from one publication it goes public in a writer's forum. Never vent about a publication or editor on your blog unless you are willing to keep them anonymous. That can be a good way to get advice from other writers without badmouthing the publication by name.


5. You demand an explanation regarding a rejection

Getting rejections is a normal part of a writer's life. It doesn't mean you're a bad writer or that the editor didn't like your work. It simply means that the piece wasn't right for them at the time. Don't let your insecurity or anger get the better of you and cause you to do something you will later regret. Emailing an editor to ask why they rejected your piece isn't the best idea. It's even worse if you are insecure and want them to tell you that you're an awesome writer. Editors don't have time for that. We'd all like more in depth responses, but we can't always get them. That's why there are forms letters, which are better than no response at all. Sometimes an editor will send you a personal response thanking you for submitting, even if the piece isn't right for them. Don't ask an editor for an explanation though. It's really not appropriate.


If you avoid making the previous 5 freelancing faux pas, you will be sure to make a good impression on any editor that you approach.