Etiquettes of working with editors?

  • Is there any podcast or course that talked about the etiquette of working with editors?

    Coming from a different cultural background, I always found it difficult to figure out these etiquettes. For example, once you've worked with an editor, is it OK to send small gifts on holidays such as New Year, or just send emails? Editors are super busy, and I don't want to make them feel like their inbox is going to explode.

    Also, once you've worked with an editor (through an agent), do you still send out postcards to the editor like 4 times a year? It's a relationship that we want to maintain, but how to do it exactly?

    Any thoughts? Thank you!

  • I worked on the other side of the slush pile for several years. The biggest breach of etiquette I saw was when writers or illustrators got frustrated and would snap at or insult the editor's or art director's assistants. It was also an incredibly illogical thing to do because the assistants help with the editor's/art director's work flow...and no one appreciates extra added drama in a busy office. Be courteous to every single person in the company...they all facilitate the handling of your book.

    Gifts? I don't think so, but maybe it depends if you have a really close and personal relationship with the editor/art director. They are supposed to be wining and dining you, not vice versa. General (not religion specific) holiday cards are fine if the card shows your most recent design and isn't a repeat from the card you sent the year previous (because they will remember!).

    Always send postcards as long as it shows your new work.

    I've heard two different art directors at SCBWI conferences say they prefer postcards and that they hold on to them for years if the cards are bulletin board worthy. One of those art directors said she doesn't even look at emails (probably her assistant does it for her). Who slogs through all their emails anyway?

  • For podcasts, check out the Illustration Dept Podcast, hosted by Giuseppe Castellan (a veteran art director in publishing). Look up his interviews with other art directors or an editor. Almost always he asks for their opinion on e-mails and mailers from artists. IMO, mailers 4 times a year seems too frequent (maybe even spam-ish).

    I think gifts for someone you already have a business relationship with is a nice gesture. Material gifts would be over doing it. In my office we love to receive food gifts. Best to ask first before sending and personally try the food yourself before ordering. Bad taste = bad reputation. If you're meeting in person, the best gift is mini-cupcakes because most health-conscious people don't feel guilty eating one. During the winter holidays, tins of popcorn and cookies are well received, but can be an expensive cost.

    I think an end-of-the-year 'thank you' e-mail would be very considerate. Everyone's inboxes gets cluttered, but it's always nice to receive a thoughful note. Mention the project you worked on and recall an amusing, brief anecdote to make your letter more meaningful.

  • I'm old school in terms of gifts. Any client I work with any year that has paid whatever threshold makes sense - like $3000 or more gets a gift with a card at the end of the year. They're always small, like small basket with nuts or chocolates or wine or something. I can guarantee you are maybe 1 in 100 that are still doing it and it's one more touch point with your clients. I've just found consistently that doing things like this, even just sending emails to check in and see how they're doing, go a long way in getting callbacks down the road.

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