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Why a Publication Says No

Querying publications as a freelance writer is a lot of fun. This is when you get to talk about yourself, and hopefully land a new project that you have been chasing. Of course, more times than not you are going to get rejected. Is this fair? Well, it doesn’t seem like it, but it is simply the nature of the industry. With that being said, if you know the reasons that a publication says no, you will be able to increase your chance of future success.

1. Some publications already have a pool of freelance writers that they use. This is not to say that you have no chance of becoming one of them, but it can be very difficult when they are already set in their ways. If an editor tells you that they have no room for another freelancer, you may want to ask if it is okay to follow up in the future. You never know when something will go wrong, and the editor suddenly needs a new writer to fill a slot.

2. Magazines work in advance. For this reason you may find that a publication has enough material for the upcoming months, and is not accepting new ideas at the time. If this situation presents itself, attempt to find out when the editor will begin to consider new ideas. By knowing this information you will have a leg up on the competition because you can be ensured of submitting your query letter/idea at the appropriate time.

3. Time after time I receive responses from editors telling me that they like my idea, but they just ran a similar story. There is not much that you can do about this except take your idea to a similar publication and see if they have room for it. This is a common reason for rejection, and one that you should shrug off and forget about. 

4. Simply put, there are going to be times when an editor does not think that you have the background and/or knowledge to handle the topic that you are interested in writing about. Personally, I run into this about once per month on average. The best way to avoid this is to stay within the subjects that you know best. But even then, you will still come across editors who are skeptical about your ability to write a certain piece.

In the future, you should be able to use these common reasons for rejection to your advantage.

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3 Comments »Freelance WritingApril 8th, 2008

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