Monday, 4 March 2013

The World Turns

I had an email from a student last week whose determination proved to be a good example of how the world turns. Over the last few years he’s had immense success with one of the filler slots in a particular woman’s weekly magazine. Then, all of a sudden, he seemed to fall out of favour, and none of his submissions were used.

This can be immensely frustrating, particularly after several years of successful writing and selling. The reason for this isn’t always obvious. Occasionally, editors like to refresh the magazine and one way of doing this is by bringing in new writers, yet that probably didn’t apply here, because the filler slot the student was targeting was really aimed at readers.

It could be that the editor became a little concerned that this particular student’s name was regularly appearing in the reader slot most weeks. Who knows? But this didn’t stop my student from continuing to submit material. And guess what? After over a year of no success, suddenly, he’s in favour again! The editor is using his work, so much so that sometimes two or three pieces are used in the same issue in this same slot.

Perhaps there has been a change in editor. Perhaps the new editor accepts that my student can offer exactly what they’re looking for in this slot. A change in editor might explain the sudden use of my student’s work again. Alternatively, perhaps this section has now been given to another member of staff to sort out, and this person doesn't have the time to devote to the slot and so is grateful of the submissions for an easier life. Whatever the reason is, it’s a good example of how determination can win through. The world continues to turn, people come and people go, so where perhaps one door closed, over time you might find it re-opening.

So why not think about some markets that you used to submit to, but no longer do? Buy an up-to-date copy and see what’s changed. You never know, you might like what you see, and the editor, or staff, may have changed too. New staff could mean a new opportunity.

Good luck.


  1. Hi Simon! That's interesting... I recently had work turned down and a week later I learned the editor was moving abroad! Time to think how to build a relationship with the new person replacing him.

    Speaking of health, what top 10 health journalists in the UK come up in your mind? I can only think of Michael Mosley...

  2. This is an interesting post Simon. I guess the subtext is never give up trying...

  3. Very timely. I used to write lots of letters to the editor etc and was wondering if I should go back to it. You've helped me decide to give it a go.

  4. I had a couple of articles "retained for possible use" by a magazine that went through three editors before the pieces were finally returned. New owners and a new editor at the title meant a new opportunity and both have since been published. Four editors and probably double the number of years but they finally made it.

  5. I had a similar, yet different experience. A well known mag accepted two of my pieces. They had both of them for a couple of years, and I'd completely forgotten about them. Then bingo, right out the blue they published one. The next month they published the second. Turns out the mag changed editors. The new editor was so pleased with my work, that after the second was published he got in touch with me asking if I could provide more of the same. Goes to show, an editors personal preference has a lot to do with getting into print.