General Question

JonnyCeltics's avatar

Will my editor publish this, given the circumstances?

Asked by JonnyCeltics (2690 points ) February 25th, 2014

I write from time to time for a major U.S. newspaper. I pitched an article and got the assignment. After I finished the reporting, which took an entire day, I called my editor and told that that it was a rich piece with some as yet untold anecdotes, and that I’d like to submit more than his requested word count. He said cool.

We set a soft deadline and when it came, I had finished my piece. I hated it. It read like a bio, was over twice as long as originally requested (OK, I felt, since he was open to having me file more) and I needed to tweak it. This was on a Friday night. So I emailed him and he said can you cut it down? And I said sure, no problem.

I submitted it the next Friday (so one week after the agreed upon date). I submitted over double his requested length. I’ve yet to hear anything. I followed up a few days after submission — I usually hear from them right away — and nothing. I followed up a week later (today) and nothing. I asked them to send me quick note to let me know if they’re still interested in it, and if not, to let me know so I can try to place elsewhere. And that of course, I’d prefer to place it with them.

I’m sad. I put a lot of work into it. I recognize that I was late in submitting, but I deserve a response. I pitched the article, and was given the go ahead, which is an assignment.

Should I cut the article down to their desired length myself? Should I give him a call? Should I leave it be? Should I pitch elsewhere? It’s not timely (as in need-to-be-published-now), but it is in a way, as well, as it needs to be published by springtime. I’m a freelancer, still learning, and passionate about this. I care about this piece, and about writing for this publication.

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12 Answers

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
gorillapaws's avatar

I don’t see how it could hurt to work on an additional revision with their word count requirement. You’ll have both options.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Sounds like the guy is giving you mixed signals (he said cool) and now not communicating. I hate to say it, but you need to keep contacting him asking politely if changes need to be made. Stay cool though, there’s always more writers looking to make a name for themselves.

Response moderated
JonnyCeltics's avatar

@gorillapaws @KNOWITALL how about a phone call?

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
CWOTUS's avatar

I’m guessing that if it failed to satisfy you in its original form (aside from the fact that it was already longer than requested), then it probably failed to satisfy your editor, too. Then he asked you to cut it down, and (you say) it was still much longer than requested. He may feel that you are the unresponsive one here.

Response moderated
JonnyCeltics's avatar

@CWOTUS Great point, which speaks to @gorillapaws’ advice. I did do a re-write of the piece I didn’t like, but it was still over length. Maybe I should re-write ASAP and re-submit. Maybe this is a test of sorts.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Response moderated
KNOWITALL's avatar

@JonnyCeltics Email or text?! Phone calls suck.

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