How to Make Your Editor Happy


How to Make an Editor Happy | Be a Pro Writer

Many freelancers would pay money to be told How to Give an Editor What He Wants. But you don’t have to because I’m going to give it to you for free. Why would I do that?

  1. I love teaching other folks what I’ve already learned.
  2. If you stop and think about it, it’s a no-brainer and I can’t bring myself to charge for no-brainers.
  3. Even after I tell you these two easy steps, I have huge doubts you will follow through.

Did you catch that? There are two easy steps to giving an editor what he wants. Two!

Ask, then deliver. That’s it.


Honestly, all you have to do is ask an editor what types of stories he’s looking for currently, and he’ll tell you. Promise.

I had a university senior email me. He was editor of his school’s publication. Freelancer for a national website. His creds were great. He wanted to know how to break into the magazine I edit. I told him.

This kid got the first step on How to Give an Editor What He Wants right. He asked. Kudos to him. So, I told him which particular geographic locations I wanted articles from. I told him the topics I wanted stories on. I told him how to format the subject lines of his emails when he pitched me. I gave him step-by-step instructions. He should have had an article in the next issue. But he didn’t.


The kid missed the most important step on How to Give an Editor What He Wants. He didn’t deliver. Oh, he tried. He emailed me back (formatted the subject line incorrectly) with four ideas. Two were for the wrong geographic locations. One pitch was for one of my forbidden, overused topics. And the fourth, while it may have intrigued me, was the one-liner I shared in this post.

I don’t want this post to be just a rant.

If you’re going to take the time to ask, then do what you’re told, for crying out loud, and at least format your email correctly so that it shows you were paying attention!

Rant over.

I’d like this post to be helpful, as well.

To Give an Editor What He Wants

First, read the submission guidelines. They wrote them to help you. Follow them.

Second, if you actually get the editor’s attention, listen to what he says. He is giving you valuable information. I told this kid what was over used and he sent me a pitch on it anyway.

Third, never think you have a better idea. Because you don’t. No one knows what the editor wants better than the editor. No one knows the readers of the publication better than the editor. You are not right. He is right. Listen to him.

What do you think? Was I right? Would you have plunked down $250 for a course guaranteed to get you into the heads of every editor out there? Are you glad I gave it away for free?

Posted in Building Relationships.

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