Six top tips for endearing yourself to an editor


Your time has come. An editor has tossed you a hurried note saying he’s interested in your work and would like to see more. If he likes what he sees, there just may be a regular freelancing gig in your near future.



So, with your foot in the door, you’ll want to do everything possible to be at your very best.

But, be warned – editors are among some of the most tired, overworked, pressed-for-time, deadline-driven professionals out there.

Only stellar writers will remain with them.

One false move or one too many errors will have you quickly shown the door.

Read on for six ways to endear yourself to your editor:

  • Be clean. Nothing gets an editor more riled than copy that is riddled with errors and structurally unsound. It’s the editor’s job to clean up those messes, you say? Think again. Today’s editorial staffs are typically so small and streamlined that there are fewer eyes to scan your completed piece. Prove yourself worthy with content that is cohesive and free of typos.
  • Be punctual. Particularly in this modern age of give-it-to-me-now news media, editors are most appreciative of writers who are timely with their work. Turn the story in early and you have a friend for life.
  • Be quick. Many times, a story will land in an editor’s email just hours, sometimes minutes, before publication deadline. This is particularly true in news and in the public relations field. If you can be quick – and accurate – in your reporting, you increase your value as a freelancer and maybe even as a future staffer.
  • Be open. An editor may have need of a writer for an assignment on an unfamiliar topic. So, football or finance may not be your “thing.” By being open to new stories, subjects and ideas, you are growing your portfolio and your street cred.
  • Be free with ideas. Editors are always in search of the latest and greatest story ideas. Articles with a new and unique twist that are trending online or at the workplace water cooler are always going to find a home in any publication.
  • Be prepared to edit and revise. Resist the urge to challenge every change your editor makes to your copy. And if you’re asked to provide some changes, do it with a willing spirit. Assume it is for the best and strive to learn from the edits. Take note of the changes that are being made and requested, and then make every effort to incorporate them into your next story.

Kerri S. Mabee is editor at Learn more about her at

Kerri S. Mabee

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