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After working as a AAAS Mass Media Fellow for ABC News, Monya fled broadcast journalism for a high school classroom, where she taught biology, chemistry and math before venturing into print journalism at the Acumen Journal of Life Sciences. As synopses editor at MIT's Technology Review, Monya solicited input from scientists and venture capitalists to select the most promising emerging research. She has written for The Economist, New Scientist, The Scientist, Wired and other publications. Monya has a BA in biology from Carleton College and an EdM from Harvard University. Based in San Francisco, she works as a writer and editor for Nature Publishing Group.

4 responses to “Reader question: Why won’t an editor reply to my pitch?”

  1. Vanessa

    As a freelance writer, this piece enlightened me about some things that never occurred to me or I suspected but was never confirmed. Thank you!

  2. Oliver

    Thanks Monya. Of course, I’d understand if you didn’t reply, but I’d love to see a post about how to “avoid common blunders like pitching something that just ran.” E.g. Do you subscribe to every magazine you pitch and/or what electronic databases do you use, at what expense, to comb their back issues? I’ve had some success crossing my fingers and praying, but I haven’t conducted well controlled experiments.

  3. Nicole Smith

    What a great article. So insightful and useful.

    As a newbie freelancer-wannabe here’s how the silence sometimes sounds from my end of things:

    Week one of silence:

    Did she get my email? Does my computer still work? Hmm… better check
    (quick check confirms email is in the ‘sent’ box). One to two days lapse
    and then, like a goldfish, my mind slips into thinking, maybe she
    didn’t get my email. Better check again…

    Week two of silence:

    The editor hates me. She hates my pitch, my tone, my name, my age, the way I look with my new haircut. She. Simply. Hates. Me.

    Week three of silence:

    Well of course she hates me. My pitch was terrible. I pretty much
    vomited words all over the place and my commas, my lordy, my excess use
    of commas after every, single, word is just screaming ‘Amateur!’

    At this point I’m so glad she never got back to me to tell me how
    utterly vomity I smell and how much I overused commas. (Commas are my
    writer’s nervous tic. The more nervous I am, the more commas I produce.
    Don’t ask me why. And for some reason I can never see them again when I
    edit my work. Go figure.)

    Week four:

    Maybe she didn’t get my email?? Hmm… time to follow up my pitch.

    Phone call attempted. Am unable to hear anything over the racing din of
    my heart beating at a stupidly fast rate. Arrhythmia, anyone? Finally
    speak to editor. Have word-for-word script in front of me. Somehow still
    say it backwards and out of order so sound like I am some telemarketer
    with an unusually high pitched voice. Editor says she may be interested.
    Nearly vomit commas in nervous excitement. Editor asks me to send email
    through of pitch. Resend email. Nervously check computer every five
    minutes for response. No response. Start to wonder why there’s no
    response. Cue start of cycle again…

    1. Diyana

      Oh gosh, I’m currently in the first week of torture of waiting for a response for a story I’ve been wanting to share for ages. It’s only been 3 days since I sent it, but I’m still so nervous. The waiting game is the worsttttttt.

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