If you’ve been in the freelancing world for more than a few months, you’ll have seen some variation of this question pop up:
What’s the best time/day to send a pitch?
And the answers are, of course… um, interesting, shall we say.
American writers, often the loudest voices in these conversations, will frequently insist that you can’t, or rather shouldn’t, pitch at certain times during the day or on Christmas Day or during the “summer” as though we all live in the same time zone or unanimously decided to celebrate Christmas or for that matter, consider the same three months of the year summer.
That’s without even considering that I received my first $1-a-word assignment ON Christmas Day from an American editor and that I signed with my first New York-based agent during the summer.
Because here’s a little secret… (and it’s not actually a secret)…
There is no magical time or day that will ensure that your emails get read.
Or some dead zone when your emails go into a zombie black hole, never to be seen again.
Editors who sometimes chime into these conversations with “please don’t send pitches over the weekend” are doing what we all do—expressing an opinion or a preference. They’re not speaking on behalf of all editor-kind.
There is no one “editor preference.”
Some editors are night owls and will check, and possibly respond to, emails at 2 a.m. Some work 9-5 in an office, while others work remotely in their home in Singapore at odd hours. Some editors take Halloween off to go trick-or-treating with their kids, and others are clearing their backlog over Christmas so they can go skiing in January with their friends. There are editors who get paid a double wage to work the night shift on New Year’s Eve and get the whole office drunk on cheap champagne (true story). Some are nowhere to be found because it’s Diwali. Or they’re getting married. Or took a sick day.
When your email arrives in an editor’s Inbox is of so little consequence that it’s incredible to me that so much time and energy is wasted by writers on obsessing about it.
But it makes sense why they do.
Because as long as you’re obsessing over how to address an editor, the right time to pitch, and whether or not to include your phone number, you don’t have to deal with or obsess about the really difficult part, the part that makes us all nervous:
The story idea and its execution.
And yet, here’s the thing:
If you have a great story and you can tell it well, none of this other stuff matters.
If not, you can personally hand-deliver it to an editor and it will still not get assigned.
All that focusing on timing and salutations and all that other nonsense does is make you feel better about your effort, as though you’re doing something. But it has little to no impact.
What has impact is the story.
And whether or not you’ve sufficiently made the case for why an editor should buy it.
If you want my help with what makes pitches actually sell, you can find it here.