Tip #9: Network with Editors and Agents
Networking with editors and agents will help you get your writing published. If you attend conferences and workshops, you can meet them and establish personal relationships. That way, you’re no longer making “cold calls” or sending pieces “over the transom” when you submit your work. They may also give you story ideas or guide you to shape your work for a particular publication.
When I first got back into freelance writing, I looked for a low-key California writing conference and chose one in northern California, within driving distance from my home. For a small additional fee, participants could meet with an editor or agent to get feedback on an essay or story. I met with one editor and one agent, and they both encouraged me to send my personal essay to magazines. Their affirmation that the piece was publication-worthy gave me the encouragement I needed when I was starting out. The piece ran in a national magazine.
Eventually, I went to larger conferences like Book Passage’s Travel Writers and Photographers Conference in Marin County, California. There were lots of editors of high-end magazines and newspapers on the faculty, and part of their job was to listen to our pitches. I’ve had articles published as a result of that conference. You pitch, they refine the idea, and tell you what they’re looking for.
If you have a strong publishing record, you can meet with an editor and pitch story ideas outside the conference arena. (Stay tuned for future posts on meetings with specific editors.)