Why editors wont chose your work. So, you are getting the silent treatment. Have you ever wondered why editors or marketing managers never chose your work for publication or commission? Why it seems like they always work with the same names over and over again. The answer? It’s in their heads!
As I wrote in my previous post (read it here) our brain creates habits to preserve energy. And, most of our actions we perform each day are out of habit. You know how much energy it takes to learn something completely new, can you imagine to do that every single day with everything we do?
It’s like hit song
Have you noticed how many of the hit songs on the radio somehow sounds the same? (with exceptions of course). And, how you almost automatically like the new hit song playing? That is because our brains are designed to prefer audio patterns that are similar to what we already know and heard. So, when Lady Gaga releases a new song, with her well known sound, our brain unconsciously recognize it and we tent do also like this one.
We react to the trigger, a familiar sound we like or a non-familiar sound that we dislike, and the result (reward) is that we hum along or change the station. If you want to learn more how habits work with triggers, routines and rewards you can read more here.
The same thing is applied to visuals, such as photography, graphic design and film. We tend to like a visual identity that we have previously liked. For me for example, I completely love Peter Lindbergh and his hard and contrasty images. This means that when he produced new work I was pretty much likely to like that as well.
Being a manager of something is often a stressful job with lots of responsibilities. A responsibility to also handle freelancers and external consultants like photographers, graphic designers and filmmakers. Freelancers who each day is filling your inbox with ideas, portfolios and elevator pitches, probably isn’t helping the stress levels.
As you might know, our body depletes our energy during stress, especially during longer periods of constant stress. As the brain are creating habits to preserve energy, the mental effort to “learn” to like a new style of visuals or answer all the e-mails from unknown freelancers during very stressful times can be too much. The editor or the marketing manager simple don’t have the energy to recognize your work. This is why editors wont chose your work.
The sneaky solution
As each magazine and company has their own flair of style that they stick to, so their readers and clients will recognize them in a familiar way. But, dress something new in old clothes making the unfamiliar familiar. Everyone who has tried to feed a dog medicine knows it is a lost cause – unless you disguise it inside a meatball!
A great example of this being used in real life, is presented in the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. In the example he describes the song Hey Ya! By Outcast and how it become a super hit. Because, it wasn’t immediately a hit, rather the opposite. It was so different from anything else that had and was being played on the radio. What they did was that they “sandwiched” the song in between two other, well know, songs. This way they buttered the lister with a well-known, sing-along-song, to make the transition to Hey Ya! easier and then they ended with another well-known sing-along-song. Bit by bit Hey Ya! grew bigger and bigger until it became the super-success we all know.
You can use the same method when reaching out to a new editor or marketing manager. You “sandwich” in your portfolio or elevator pitch in between something that the manager is more familiar with. For me, this has worked several times where I have a bit of a quirky idea for an editorial that is on the borderline of what the magazine or company usually do.
This is also something to use when you want to get on the radar of a certain magazine, company or editor. Create content that resonance with their specific style (without taking away the you in it). When you then are tagging them in your work on social media, your work is something that they are used to see. When you have their attention and maybe come so far you have been commissioned to do a job and have an established relationship – it’s time to strike!
“I’m glad you liked my previous work. This might be a bit out there, but I think It could be something you appreciated….”