Misplaced Mail: 5 Most Common Emails Sent to me as Editor in Chief

by Kurt

My editorial inbox would drive me insane were I not able to derive some humor from its contents. If you are looking to pitch your [insert concept, product, project, video or cat pictures here] to someone managing an online magazine, newspaper or blog, please consider these the best ways to be ignored and/or summarily deleted.

1) The Not-Me-But-Me Pitch: It is amazing how many people will write in and say that they ‘found’ or ‘came across’ something, link to their own website, and then (the critical mistake) actually include their name, email and website in the contact form as well. The tactic would be relatively transparent even if they didn’t out themselves, but the fact that they do is bizarrely hilarious. Do they think the required fields are not forwarded with their message?

2) The Product or Service Purchase Request: A magazine is not a catalog. This is obvious to most people, of course. The lack of a price tag, buy-it button and other visual cues are usually enough to clue in folks. And if not: our explicit bold text on the contact form stating that we do not sell things should do the trick. Yet almost daily, someone writes in asking for a print catalog, pricing or ordering information as if we ran a store.

3) The Product or Designer Details Request: A variant on the previous phenomena, some people manage to figure out that the site is a magazine, but miss the (bolded) names and links in the articles and write in asking for information about the creator or distributor of a given product or project.  This is somewhat understandable, but generally their time finding and using the contact form would have yielded as better results simply clicking a link or performing a search.

4) The Scammy Link Purchase Pitch: A recent request offered a “generous $30” to put links on the site. What these people are missing has multiple layers. First, the price point is absurd – why would anyone put a legitimate site at risk for search penalties for such a paltry sum? Second, and more importantly, our editorial content is not for sale – our ads are clearly distinguished from our content for obvious ethical reasons.

5) The Old-Article-Edit Pitch: Some people see old articles that their work might be a good fit for … but gloss over the fact that these are indeed old articles. To be fair, some editors might go back and add more to an existing piece to flesh it out further, but for the most part, what is in the archives is yesterday’s news – if we constantly re-edited our growing collection of extant articles, we would never find time to write new ones.

What is particularly impressive is that we have evolved our contact page to address these misconceptions ahead of time, yet people (of course) gloss over the text and submit the same inquires over and over again anyway. But lest you think this is an entirely negative post, here are a few words of (potential) wisdom for those trying to reach out to an editor: be yourself, write clearly and concisely about your work, and link to additional text, images and/or videos explaining it in greater detail. It sounds simple because it is – the elevator pitch is critical here as elsewhere. Good luck!