So what advice did the panelists offer my students about getting published:
– All said e-mail is the best approach for freelance writers to submit a story. Most preferred receiving the completed story. BlackListed prefers receiving a story idea rather than a story. Then an editor will let the writer know if the publication is interested in the story.
– When sending an e-mail: Put the name of the story in the subject line. Keep the e-mail short and polite. Direct the e-mail to a specific editor and be sure to spell that person’s name correctly.
– Not everyone has Vista. So if you send a Word document created in Vista, the resulting .docx document can’t be opened. So save as Word 2003 or as a Rich Text Format.
– There’s a fine line between being assertive and being overbearing. When you send a story via e-mail, you can call once to follow up. E-mailing or calling more often is too pushy. Remember that editors are busy people.
– Be ready to do more reporting or change the story based on directions from the editor.
– Send your story to only one publication at a time. If the editor doesn’t get back to you, then you can contact the editor to say that you are sending the story to another publication. Don’t send the story to multiple publications at the same time.
– Realize that your story may be changed or shortened without the editor telling you in advance. “That’s just the way it is,” one editor said.