As a freelance writer, one of the most important things you can do is build a good relationship with your editors. And it’s not just because it makes for a more pleasant professional situation.
Editors move publications — and there are even freelance editors who work with multiple publications. Miranda has worked with one particular editor on three different projects, at his request. She is currently freelancing for Forbes because another editor brought her along when he started working there.
So, how do you wow your editors? You might be surprised at how simple it can be.
When you can be counted on to turn your work on time, that goes a long way with most editors. If you know you’re going to miss a deadline, let your editor know ASAP. Good communication combined with turning in most of your stuff on deadline (or even a little early) can make a huge difference and move you to the top of the list.
Do a little proofreading and self-editing on your own. While there are still things an editor will do, try to make their job a little easier. The cleaner your copy, the better off everyone will be. Editors enjoy working with those who just require a little guidance, rather than constant babysitting for typos and grammatical errors.
If there’s a particular subject you know about or that you can cover, let your editor know. Miranda originally began working with an agency for one specialty, but when she mentioned that she had expertise in another area as well, the editor was pleased because he needed someone for that subject. Rather than look for a second freelancer, he increased the assignments made to Miranda.
If you're having trouble meeting a deadline, let your editor know ASAP. Additionally, while you don't have to go into detail about health issues or mental issues, giving your editor a heads up that you might need fewer articles and more time can be helpful. You can even let your editor know if there's a particular type of article you don't want to write or a subject you're not interested in. You might not always get your way, but good communication can help you create good working relationships.
In the end, good communication, a professional manner, and adherence to best practices can make you an editor’s darling — and they’ll even tell their other editor friends.