How to Contact an Editor

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Everyone wants to know how to contact an editor because editors buy manuscripts.

How NOT to Contact an Editor

  • No cold calls. If you haven’t met an editor, do not call them and try to pitch a manuscript. You’ll just make them mad and the answer will be no.
  • No inappropriate submissions. You must do market research and find an editor’s name and something about his/her preferences.

We could sum this up by saying be polite. Here’s a great posting from Harold Underdown’s Purple Crayon Website:

Let the Mail Prevail: A Guide to Etiquette, Status Calls and More

How to Contact an Editor

  • Conferences. When an editor takes the time and trouble to travel to a nearby location, go meet him or her. The personal connection is the very best way to make a connection that will last.
  • Read books edited by the editor. Just because you like the editor in person still doesn’t mean you’ll hook up with them over a manuscript. When you find a list of books edited by an editor, read the books to see which ones you like. If you are a member of the Society of Children’s Bookwriters and Illustrators, they recently updated their publication, “Edited by.” (Log into the site, click on Members/Publications). If you’re not a member and you write for 0-21 year olds, join.
  • CWIM
    Market Guides. Read market guides like the Children’s Writers and Illustrator’s Market. It’s like telephone directory which gives contact information, submission preferences, etc.
  • Email. Don’t email. Really, unless you have a relationship with an editor, don’t email him or her. Still, sometimes you do need to know how to contact someone by email. Publishing Trends has an annual Contact Sheet (pdf download), that lists the formulas for company emails. Use with caution and discretion!

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