Monday, February 27, 2012

How Many Editors Does It Take To Edit A Magazine?

No, this isn't a joke - there is a reason for discussing this. Some magazines have more than one editor. Take a look at Coast magazine, for example, which has the following:

  • An Editor-in-Chief
  • An Editor,
  • A Deputy Editor,
  • A Chief Sub-Editor,
  • A Picture Editor,
  • An Acting Assistant Editor,
  • A Deputy Web Editor,
  • An Associate Web Editor.
I've even seen some magazines who have an 'Editor at Large'. 

Now, if you're looking to submit a pitch to a magazine, which one are you going to pitch to?

Avoid the 'Editor-in-Chief' or the 'Editor-at-Large'. These people are rarely involved in the day-to-day running of the magazine. They're there to oversee the general direction of where the magazine is heading. It is quite common for an 'Editor-in-Chief' to be the 'Editor-in-Chief' for more than one magazine within the company's group of magazines. (It's the Editor in Chief, who gets invited to all the swanky lunches - and let's face it - there's little point in sending an email pitch to someone who isn't sat at their desk.)

A good editor to look out for is the Commissioning Editor - for it is their job to commission! But if no one is listed in the staff list as that, then consider approaching the editor, or the deputy editor. If you're pitching an article, then the Features Editor is another job title worth looking out for.

There are some magazines who have editors for specific sections of the magazine. For example, there may be a cookery editor, a travel editor, a health editor or a beauty editor. If any of your ideas are targeted at a specific slot within the magazine, then you may be better approaching the editor of that slot, rather than the main editor.

The job description of 'editor' can be bandied about a little too easily at times. Salaries within the publication world can be lower than other industries and one way to give someone a perk is to 'boost' their job title!

When I had a regular column in one particular magazine, I was most surprised to see the editor refer to me (in the editor's letter at the beginning of the magazine) as their Outdoor Editor. It was the first, and only time, I was referred to as such!

Next time you analyse a magazine and spot a selection of editors in its staff list, make a note of all of the names and then make your pitch to the most suitable editor. Sometimes, going to the top won't always result in a response. Picking someone lower down the editorial ladder might be a better way of getting an answer to your query.

Good luck.