It’s not enough to research and write a great query. If you want an assignment, you have to send that query to the editor who has the power to assign it.
Tracking down the right editor (and their contact information) can feel like Mission: Impossible.
Here are a few tricks to make it easier:
Read the masthead: It’s not just the editors whose names are listed here. Most mastheads also list advertising and administrative contacts, often with email addresses. You can bet that if Susie Jones, the director of advertising, is sjones@ABCmag.com, the editor, Paula Pierce, is ppierce@ABCmag.com.
Use your research skills: A good reporter has good research skills, right? Put them to use on Google. By looking at the masthead of Redbook magazine, you’ll learn it’s published by Hearst. Google “Hearst” “publisher” “advertising” and “email” turns up a contact in the ad department whose email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ask colleagues: Freelancers are a generous bunch. If you want to pitch a magazine and can’t find the email address, just ask. Members of websites like FreelanceSuccess.com are happy to oblige.
Subscribe to media sites: Websites like FreelanceSuccess.com, MediaBistro.com and Mastheads.org provide email formulas and editor contact information to their members. It’s worth the investment to subscribe to at least one site.
Pick up the phone: If no amount of Googling turns up an email formula, pick up the phone. Contact numbers are always listed on the masthead or magazine website. When the receptionist answers, keep it simple: “I’d like to email Jane Smith. Can you confirm her email address for me?” Chances are, you’ll have the right email within minutes. Be prepared! If the receptionist transfers you to Jane Smith, you should be ready to talk about your idea.
Avoid general submission addresses: Yes, Writer’s Market is full of suggestions for sending queries to submissions@ABCmag.com. You can bet that editors are too busy taming their personal inboxes to pay much attention to a generic email address.
Stick to email: With very few exceptions, editors want to receive queries via email. Even though some writers guidelines and listings in Writer’s Market tell you to snail mail queries, ignore the advice. I believe it’s a trick to keep new writers from being successful.
Do you have creative suggestions for tracking down an editor’s contact information?
This is great! I was surprised by how challenging it was to track down contact information (though I understand the wisdom behind hiding the information). At one point I went from the masthead, to the website, to a gravatar profile, to a LinkedIn account, to making a good guess as to the appropriate email combination based on the little nuggets of information I picked up on my quest. It’s so nice to hear some other ideas as well for when the hunt gets going.
I’m glad the information is helpful. I remember how frustrating it was to track down the correct email addresses for editors when I was starting out and these tricks were life savers! There are times when it’s still tricky — especially with editors who have hyphenated last names — but it’s a good place to start. Hope your writing is going well.
Hi, Jodi. I would love to connect with you. Thank you so much for the opportunity to help with you story in the July edition of Arrive magazine and help educated readers on how to find a financial professional.