Editors are busy people. They spend a lot of their lives in meetings and, if they haven’t managed to shift some responsibilities on to other staff members, need to focus on not just content but also finance, marketing and where the magazine (or, increasingly these days, “the brand”) is going.
And there are only so many hours in the day.
For the lonely freelance camped outside of the office – not literally, if you want to avoid legal proceedings – it’s not always easy to know if the editor has had time to read your lean, perfectly crafted and targeted pitch. Some editors don’t appear to have inboxes, but rather Black Holes—out of which no response, let alone a commission, escapes.
There are ways you can improve your chances, however; when you pitch your article can make a real difference, for example. Mondays generally aren’t good; your pitch can easily get lost among a weekend’s worth of messages. Fridays can be better, as some editors aim to concentrate on “admin” before disappearing for the weekend. It depends, though, on the individual.
The one day you should absolutely avoid pitching on – I know this from both sides of the commissioning desk – is print day. No matter how well organised Editorial and Production are, the day any magazine is sent to the printers will be too busy to even think about anything else.
The days immediately afterwards, on the other hand… Pitch them!
So when is print day? A reasonable rule of thumb is 10 to 14 days before an issue appears in the shops, but if in doubt—ask! This has two advantages; it emphasises your professionalism, and also means they’ll be aware of when your pitch is likely to turn up. Both improve your chances.
Assuming it’s any good, of course!
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