Sometimes, we get really interesting emails from people wanting to collaborate or contribute articles to our parenting magazine. Usually I ignore them, but every once in a while I can’t resist the urge to respond. This mostly happens when they bug us repeatedly. You’d think they would get the hint after their first three emails didn’t receive a response, but you would be wrong.
Today was one of those days when I couldn’t resist. This guy from a law firm in New Jersey has been hounding us for the past week. Here are a few excerpts:
Hey there! I’m Eric, content editor at [REDACTED] Attorney at Law and I’m fathomed with your website content! And you probably are, too lol. I was snooping through your site while brainstorming and wanted to reach out and tell you how AMAZING I think it is. Awesome job. Are you keen on guest contributions?
Hey there! I’m coming back around to see if you got a chance to read my previous email. Since I haven’t heard back I assume you probably didn’t fancy my proposal (*silent cry*). If you have any ideas in mind, I’d love to hear (or in this case read) about them. Maybe we can find some common ground and knock this out of the ball park. It’d be fabulous if we could work together to create something our audience can enjoy.
Hey there! So it’s been about a week and my hopes are starting to die down regarding our possible collaboration for a guest post. I do understand you have other priorities on your to-do list but I still have some hope you’ll take the time to take a quick look through my ideas and think about how awesome this article could be.
I shot him back an email today. I normally don’t bother because it comes from my personal work account rather than the generic “editorial” email address he was blindly submitting to, but I had to get this guy to stop.
While I appreciate your enthusiasm, I’m not sure what “I’m fathomed with your website content” even means (though I assume you’re saying you’re impressed with it). Our posts are pretty well scheduled out, so we are not in need of guest contributions at this time. Thank you for your interest, however, and keep on defending New Jersey! Somebody’s gotta do that.
Best of luck!
Seriously, though. Fathomed?! That denotes understanding (or alternately, water depth)—neither of which makes a bit of sense in that context. Plus, how is it “our audience”? You’re a law firm in New Jersey, we’re a publishing company in South Dakota. Never mind the fact that he’s trying way too hard to be cute and clever. I can’t stand that. Don’t get me wrong; I love slapstick humor and bad puns, but not in a professional setting where you’re offering your services. This guy would be a lot of fun to hang out with in a bar, but I wouldn’t want to publish his parenting advice, you know?
By the way, he responded. Hey, Mark – Thanks for the reply!
You’re welcome, law firm guy. Now go away.
Incidentally, we do accept guest contributions and freelance articles from time to time. I purchased one for our upcoming winter issue. But these are from seasoned professionals who know their shit (and how to sell it). If you’re thinking of reaching out to a publication and asking about a potential collaboration, here are some helpful hints:
- Flattery will get you nowhere. At least not when it’s over the top like law-firm guy-Eric’s. His subject line was “Your Website is Mind-blowing!” and he kept saying how INCREDIBLE and AWESOME our publication is. You’re trying too hard when you do that. Stick to something like, “I enjoy your magazine and have an article that might appeal to your audience” instead.
- If you want to be taken seriously, be professional. There’s a time and place for humor and casual conversation, but an introductory email where you’re trying to sell yourself is neither the time nor the place. I don’t know you, so don’t act like we’re buddies. And please don’t use words like “awesome” or pepper your email with EMOJIS or things like (“silent cry”), for godsakes!
- Have a finished product, not just an idea. Law firm guy gave me a list of topic ideas he came up with “off the top of my head” and then wanted to know if I had any ideas! Umm, yeah…a whole magazine’s worth, that I brainstormed with my team. If you’re coming to me with a proposal, have something concrete. The freelancers I contract with always attach the finished article to their query. This allows me to look it over and decide on the spot whether it’s a good fit or not.
- Be a subject matter expert. In other words, write about what you know. We aim for credibility. If I were producing an airplane magazine, I wouldn’t publish an article from somebody whose sole experience involved flying kites.
Above all else, remember that a generic “editorial @ magazine dot com” address will be read by a real, live person. Like ME. And sometimes, I might even call you out on your bullshit submission. Adhere to these tips and your chances of being published go way up.
Go get ’em, tigers!