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Please Your Editor!  

The way to get happily published over and over is to please editors. 

How? Let's look at it from the editor's point of view.

The editor assigns a story. Here's what he or she expects:

  • The work must be written well. If it needs a bit of copyediting or touch-up, this is no problem. But think of how happy an editor would be if your work can be printed without any additional intervention.

  • Your work must be in the style and tone of the publication to which it's submitted. Be sure the story and your style are appropriate to the publication. (See Know Your Readership).

  • The piece must be the right length. An editor has only so much space to give a story. If the story is too long, the editor must chop and cut, perhaps ruining the story in the process. If it's too short, the editor must come after you to write more. Don't submit work that is too long and think "The editor may want to cut some bits, so there's extra to fill in." If the editor finds parts that need to be cut or modified, she'll tell you. If the story is too long, she's going to have to figure out how to cut it, which is more difficult for her than for you, so you've just increase her work load, and she's not going to take kindly to it.

  • The story must be submitted on time. "I wasn't hired to print white space," one editor once told me. If the story is not there on time, the editor is in real trouble. If you're the writer who is late, you're the cause of the trouble. Enough said.

  • There must be a source of photos. Virtually every publication puts photos with travel stories. Photos are the essence of travel. If you don't take them, at least find out where photos can be gotten, such as from a chamber of commerce, state or national tourism office, or a photography stock house. (See Get Photos, Too).

If you make an editor happy, that editor will be very happy to work with you again.

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Tom Brosnahan