Saturday, October 31, 2009
My Advice to Writers: Never Beg!
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received for getting writing assignments was this: Never ever act like you’re begging.
That came from a pretty savvy, super high-level editor friend of mine.
“Always make editors seem like you’re this very hot writer, even when you’re cold,” he said. “All editors, just like all movie directors, want to work with people who are hot, not cold. Heat in any industry is huge. So always act confident, even when you’re not. Just fake it for awhile. Eventually, if you’re good enough, you’ll catch up to your own hype.”
Mind you, this doesn’t mean that you’re acting like an arrogant diva, just someone sure of his or her talent and track record.
A couple of ways to accomplish this:
Get across to editors that there are time limits on your story pitches (be reasonable and give them 2-3 weeks max) and if they ultimately are willing to assign you to a story don’t jump at the first payment offer (be reasonable and gently ask, “Is there any way to get a little more for this?).
You’re establishing a line of respect. In the long run, this attitudinal shift will get you more work and money than merely begging for a shot.