It’s funny—many times you’ll only hear from an editor when receiving a rejection. For whatever reason, your e-mailed query letter and their e-mailed rejection is the only interaction you will ever establish. But sometimes things click: An editor connects with your query letter, and an author-editor relationship is born. Although courting an editor with a query letter and then having it accepted may seem romantic—almost as if an editor has agreed to go out on a date with you—be careful to remain professional. Remember that when dealing with an editor, a friendly relationship is mandatory.
Nature of the business
But keep in mind that an editor is your boss—at least while she is assigning you pieces—and you should treat her with the same respect that you would any boss. It should be noted, however, that during the span of several years, editors and writers often become friends—it’s the nature of the business. Furthermore, in journalism, unlike between journalist and source, no strict professional boundary exists between editor and writer. In the world of freelancing, editors and writers switch professional roles, and often someone who is an editor one day will be a freelancer another.
If an editor has expressed interest in your query letter and offered you an assignment, don’t hesitate to e-mail her with relevant questions. Remember to keep your e-mails well written, concise, and professional. There’s no reason to send your editor a five-paragraph missive every time you want to check in with quick question. Also, with new topics, be sure to use an explanatory title in the subject line instead of responding to a previous e-mail, and always be sure that your e-mail clearly outlines a call to action.