Last week, I was asked the following question by a travel writer:
“As a travel writer and editor, what would you recommend to do when a travel editor deletes your article submission without reading it?”
I think the question is important as it speaks to what most writers go through. I know I have had plenty of submission disappear without ever getting a response, and the experience can be difficult. Here are my thoughts on the subject of facing a silent rejection and the actual letter sent to the writer of the original question. I do hope this offers a perspective that may any some future questions.
“As a writer, I never assume I am going to get a response. I submit. I Wait. If I do not hear anything in a few months, I send a follow up note, explaining in a nice way, that I will be submitting elsewhere. Then I submit elsewhere. I never take it personally, because it is not personal. I have never met an editor who had any free time, or gets it all done within my time frame.
As an editor, I, or an associate editor, read everything that gets submitted. Unfortunately, ITKT receives far more submissions than we can keep up with leaving us consistently playing catch up. I attempt to send a “received” letter and then an “accepted” or “rejected” letter after someone finishes reading the submission. While I always intend to send a follow up note to writers, I am sure I miss a few due to my imperfect system of dealing with submissions. This is why I never take it personally. I have made the same mistakes other editors might make, too.
Deleting a submission without reading it doesn’t make any sense. Not sure what an editor would ever gain by throwing away submissions. However, I do receive submissions that come in the form of a mass email. In other words, one story simultaneously submitted to 50 editors, within the same email. These stories are written by writers who have not read the submission guidelines as their articles are not even close to hitting word counts, requested topics, style or formatting. Truthfully, these articles are deleted without having been read when I see that in the “To:” box contains 49 other names with a generic “Dear Sir(s)/Madam(s),” as the submission’s opening line. If a writer makes it obvious that they did not try to find out about the publication they are submitting to, the article is not worth my effort.”
For the record, this author of this question has submitted articles to ITKT in the past. So, I thought would check up on myself to see if I had failed to respond to any of his submissions. I had answer them all, although a few responses were long over due.
And now for the coming week…
In ten days, I am off to my first trip to Mexico in over a year. While I expect to have reasonable Internet connection, I want to have most of my work complete so I can focus on Mexico’s bicentennial and the FITA convention, which will have numerous travel industry types all under one roof.
I have articles that need to be finished and ready for publication about Costa Rica, why Editors choose the photos they choose, traveling to Mexico during a drug cartel maelstrom and step two on getting started in travel writing.
I am looking to expand TWL to include a forum to help travel writers get answers to questions and connect with industry people. Truthfully, I wish I had better resources when I started out. I think sites like Travelwriters.com and Craigslist kind of suck in helping writers and travelers, but they are popular even though there should be better sites to interact with — but I have not found them. I hate saying it because the last thing I need is more work. However, I am seeing there is still a community of budding travel writers and enthusiastic travelers in need of more interaction and support. The larger picture will include meet ups starting in Los Angeles.
I suppose there is a chance that adding a forum to TWL (and linking through ITKT and ITKT USA) could leave me alone in cyberspace with my travel thoughts, I am seeing a need for a more focused travel community. I am hopeful the next week can see the ironing out of the technical details.
And how was your week?
PS. The photo is of a temple in Tulum, Mexico.