Posted by Bob Greenberger on January 17, 2013
While I await the spring hiring season for teachers, I’ve been focusing a lot on my freelance writing life. Knowing this period of time was coming, back in October, in time for the New York Comic-Con, I began a regular series of contacts with people I have done work for and others I’ve always wanted to work for.
NYCC is not a good show for casual appointments but, instead, you need specifically target meetings arranged, preferably in advance, so you and your subject set aside time and are prepared for a conversation. The next step is the follow-up. Whatever is decided, you follow-up in writing, confirming your understanding of what was said and politely thanking them for the time, regardless of outcome.
At that show, one editor finally read a pitch and told me she liked it but didn’t like the artist attached. The agent said he had other artists. Since then, the editor has left her company before seeing the revisions from the new artist so we have to wait for things to settle.
I was up for one licensed job, something I was well-suited to write, but the licensee had author approval and nixed me. So much for that although the editor says he still wants to work with me.
I found out an editor at a book house was actively seeking material so followed up with a pitch and today he finally replied, saying thanks, but no thanks. That happens. A lot. So, I accept it and recognize it can always be done at Crazy 8 Press.
Meantime, editors I only waved to at NYCC I sent follow-up e-mails to in October with follow-ups either right before or right after the holidays. While there might not be anything today, you need that casual reminder you are still around, interested, and available. You never know.
What frustrates me, though, are the editors who never respond. These are people I’ve bought from. Who I’ve worked alongside. I’ve dined with and partied at conventions with. These are friends or friendly enough that one would think a one-line acknowledgement would be forthcoming. While getting some work would be lovely, I’d least like to hear back from them. One of the primary things I was taught and passed on to those I trained at DC was to always acknowledge the freelancer even if it’s a simple, “the package was received, haven’t looked at it but will shortly”. It gives us a sense of comfort.
As a result of such behavior, I find that I need to focus the coming weeks and months on two tracks. First, making certain I have applied to school districts via their websites so I’m in place when they are ready to hire. Secondly, I need to generate addition material on my own, for C8 so I have stuff to sell and a chance to find new readers.
I’m certainly not giving up on my colleagues and contacts in traditional publishing, but their silence speaks volumes.