I have been a travel writer for 18 months. In the space of that time, I’ve had close to 100 articles published. Along the way, I’ve learned a few lessons about what editors want. Whether you’re an aspiring writer or an old hand, here are three important things to remember:
Make your deadline!
There’s a reason that an editor provides a deadline. Don’t expect flexibility. If you are on the road, as I often am, don’t leave things until the last minute. Travel delays sometimes wreak havoc, and you never know when you may find yourself without Wi-Fi.
I was once stranded in a small Nepalese town with no internet connection for three days due to nationwide transport strikes. Travel is unpredictable, so it is best to be prepared for anything. Whatever your circumstances, if at all possible, complete and submit the article at least a few days ahead of the deadline.
Good communication skills and reliability are essential.
Some of my articles have been accepted as they are. Occasionally, the editors will make edits themselves. Sometimes, there is a considerable amount of communication between the writer and the editor in order to produce the perfect piece.
When this happens, the writer should respond as quickly as possible to any requests made by an editor.
Don’t take it personally if you are asked to make changes (within reason, of course). I have found that by working together with the editor and openly discussing amendments and additions, both the editor and writer will eventually accomplish the desired result.
An editor isn’t going to appreciate dealing with a reluctant and non-communicative writer!
Double- and triple-check your work for errors.
It should go without saying that editors expect perfect punctuation, excellent spelling, and well-constructed sentences.
I always go over my work several times before submitting to ensure that I am totally happy with it. If you have any doubt whatsoever, keep rewriting until you are completely satisfied with the construction of a sentence or a paragraph. Always use spellcheck.
If you aren’t 100% sure that you are using the correct punctuation, check it out. You can either look it up online or buy yourself a book about the rules of grammar and punctuation. Many editors will throw out anything that isn’t written properly – so be meticulous.
By bearing these three points in mind, you will be well on your way to establishing a good relationship with your editor. Your reputation as a proficient and reliable writer will grow. Before you know it, your articles will be selling like hotcakes!