Monday, June 05, 2006


Hey, remember me?

Here's something you'll get a laugh out of: This morning, I started following up on e-mails I sent to editors in 2002.

Instead of doing any of my actual paying work yesterday, I was going through my "Follow Up" e-mail box, which is where I store copies of e-mailed queries and correspondences with editors I want to write for. The box now has more than 900 messages dating back to December 2000.

I found several messages from 2002 (that's as far as I got through the box) that contained promising but eventually unfruitful corresponences between me and editors. For example, I contacted one custom publishing company and the editor-in-chief e-mailed me a reply that they might have some projects coming up and that I should follow up with the managing editor. Well, I followed up with her three times, with no luck. Then there was the e-mail from the owner of a newsletter company asking about my specialties (which I replied to and followed up on), and the message from a former editor letting me know that a friend of hers was looking for writers for a nutrition magazine (ditto).

So, this morning, I pulled out a bunch of promising messages from my Follow Up box and followed up on them, saying, "I was going through my old e-mails and came across this correspondence between us from a while back. Are you still looking to expand your stable of freelance writers? Yadda, yadda, yadda."

Will it work? Only time will tell. One editor got back to me right away saying her stable of freelancers is currently full, but that I should send her a list of my specialties. Two e-mails to other editors bounced. And I haven't heard back from the others yet.

Want to tell me I'm a nutjob? Or that you tried this tactic (and how it worked out for you)? Post a comment!

Follow-ups sometimes work, though I haven't gone so far back.

I think maybe editors don't open our e-mails or get a chance to take action on our correspondences before they get busy. Maybe occasional reminders get us more firmly planted in their minds.
I haven't followed up on anything more than a couple years old, but I DID get a story assignment on a query that I'd sent out eighteen months earlier. I'd followed up, gotten no response, followed up again, gotten no response and written it off. Much to my surprise, I got an email from an editor when they were starting up a new magazine asking if they could have the article. Go figure.
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