by Rachel Smith
30 May 2018
I recently pitched a new editor. He liked one of my ideas, commissioned me quickly and I got cracking. The piece was filed just before deadline, but that was 10 days ago and I still heard a peep from the editor. Should I assume no news is good news and send my invoice? Do I wait for feedback? Or assume he hates it and doesn’t want to tell me? I’m sweating buckets. Anon
Firstly, congrats! Getting commissioned from a new editor isn’t easy the first time you pitch. But your next step is to follow up, sharpish. If you’ve been putting it off, I understand why. It’s a tricky balancing act between trying to get an answer, and feeling like you’re bugging an editor you know is busy as hell.
Because some editors get in excess of 400 emails a day, it’s understandable that sometimes, weeks can go by before you get replies to emails. Even so, it’s bloody nerve-wracking. Especially when you’re waiting to hear on a story that’s been commissioned and filed. Is it good to go? Does it need edits? A complete re-write? You want to tick it off your list and move on, right? Trouble is, you’re in limbo until you know.
Playing devil’s advocate, there’s every chance they a) didn’t receive it; b) it fell through the cracks and was accidentally deleted, which is easy to do or c) they’re on deadline and haven’t had a chance to open it, much less respond.
But after filing copy, if you haven’t heard back within five business days, I’d forward the original email and attached copy saying something like, ‘Hi [Editor], just checking to see if you received the copy I filed a week ago? Here it is again in case it slipped through the cracks during a busy period. Looking forward to your response / feedback’.
If you follow-up via email and you still haven’t had a reply a week later, pick up the phone. It’s the best way to find out where you and your piece stand. I hope in your case your follow-up email gets you the answers you seek!
Have you been in this situation – commissioned by an editor who suddenly goes quiet? How did you handle it?