Thursday, September 21, 2006

And I'd Like to Thank...

I was hoping you could cover something I haven't seen anywhere else: Expert/source etiquette. a) How do you thank them? b) Do they get copies of what you've written from the magazine itself, or should you as a courtesy provide them a copy? c) If you decide to spin your original interview material in a different direction for different articles, do you need to seek their permission? Any help would be appreciated.

a) I usually simply thank them profusely (and often) both at the beginning of the phone call and at the end. Letting them know that I know their time is valuable, and I appreciate what they're doing for me. I often send a similar note of thanks via email after the interview or after we've swapped emails with my follow-up questions. I do know some writers who, I think, send out hand-written thank you notes, but I'll be honest: I wish I had the time to do something like that, but alas, I don't. And I don't think that these experts expect it either. I think you employ common graciousness (and then some), and you're fine. I really do go out of my way to let them know how appreciative I am of their assistance, and that's that.

b) Depends. Some magazines ask for an expert's address to send him a contributor's copy (or in some cases, I can provide the addy and my editor will send out a copy), and some don't. Hell, some don't even send me a copy, much less my source. What I most often do, and I'll admit to the fact that when I'm super-swamped, this sometimes gets sidelined (which I feel terribly about), is send the expert a link to the article, either from my website or when available, from the magazine's website. Most seem plenty happy with this: they just want to be alerted that the story has been published. If they do then request a hard copy, I'll make a color xerox of the copy that I have (one that I've bought or has been sent to me), and drop it in the mail. Everyone seems fairly satisfied with this method.

c) I'm not sure that you NEED to seek their permission to use it again, but just as a courtesy, I like to give them a heads-up. Frankly, they're almost always thrilled: they get more bang for their buck, and on the off-chance (okay, is that hyphenated? now I'm all paranoid since someone posted in the comments section that I use too many hyphens!) that they're not thrilled or if say, they're on an advisory board of a competing magazine, you'll be forewarned before you write the piece. But again, I've never had anyone balk at the chance of getting more publicity, so most time, it's not a problem.

How do you guys notify your sources of upcoming articles? Do you stay 100% on top of it or can you make me feel a little less guilty and admit that this sometimes falls by the wayside.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

Thanks Allison - this info is very helpful!