Thereís a rumor out there in the publishing world that an editor wonít even look at the work of a new writer. It might be true for certain types of writing, but after interviewing hundreds of editors, Iíve found that most are more open to new writers than you might think.
And there are a few major benefits to being a new writer too. So before you spend too much time trying to work out how you can appear to be a published professional writer when youíre not, consider taking advantage of your current position as a newcomer.
What are the advantages? Here are four positive points of being a new writer that will help you get work - and they all come direct from editors.
1. Itís Easier to Impress
ďI really donít mind new writers at all. If youíre new and act professionally, Iím usually willing to give you a go. Iíd suggest that new writers just be honest about who they are.
If I get a fairly good article by a new writer, Iíll be impressed. To me, thatís my chance to discover new talent. Thatís when Iíll contact the writer and try to help them. If I get a fairly good article by a new writer pretending to be an experienced writer, I will probably just issue a standard rejection.Ē -Evelyn, Magazine Editor
If you claim to be a professional and experienced writer, an editor is likely to expect a lot. That means it will take a lot to really impress them. Even a good article might not be enough to get their attention. But if you tell the truth and admit that youíre a new writer, it takes a lot less to impress. A new writer with a professional approach is something special Ė just sending a professional quality submission might even be enough to impress.
2. Thereís Room to Grow
ďWhen I get a good article from a new writer, Iím always very happy. Why? Because new writers with the right skills and attitude are wonderful for our magazine. They can be shaped to suit our style, they listen to instructions, they usually have a positive attitude. Thatís the kind of writer I like to take on and mentor.Ē ĖStephanie, Magazine Editor
If an editor knows that youíre a new writer, youíre giving them the chance to spot new talent. If youíre new and right for their publication, you might be taken in and mentored until you suit their style.
The same isnít likely to happen if the editor thinks that youíre experienced. Instead of looking at your work and thinking that it shows potential, theyíll be assuming itís the best that you can do.
3. Anything Else, And You Risk Losing Their Interest
ďI would tell writers to be careful if theyíre going to exaggerate. I know everyone does it on resumes. But if someone claims to have been a writer for twenty years and is pitching my low-paying mag, Iím going to wonder two things. First, Iím going to wonder if theyíre lying. Second, Iím going to wonder why theyíre not working for a higher paying magazine if they really have that much experience. If theyíre not lying, then I have to assume that theyíre just a bad writer. Either way, it doesnít look good for them.Ē - Danielle, Magazine Editor
If youíre a new writer, you need to be targeting the right kinds of markets. And if you are targeting small markets, claiming years of experience is only going to make editors suspicious.
4. Attitude Matters
ďItís simple. Many seasoned writers pitching me have a bit of an attitude, a hint of suspicion, and often a streak of boredom. Fresh writers pitching me tend to have nothing but positive energy and enthusiasm. Iíll take the enthusiastic writer, please.Ē ĖSam, Editor
If you canít go in with experience, go in with enthusiasm. That might be the big advantage that gets you the job.