I Couldn’t Make This Stuff Up

As the Editor of Onya Magazine, I receive a large number of emails each week from people pitching articles and ideas, as well as those seeking internships, work experience and full-time or part-time positions.

Many of these emails end up straight in the trash.

I used to feel obliged to answer all emails I received but then I decided that if some people couldn’t be bothered putting in the effort when sending an email – you know, things like spelling and grammar – then I couldn’t be bothered replying.

On the one hand, it’s kind of disrespectful to send an email to an Editor that features spelling mistakes or one that doesn’t even make sense. On the other, it’s kind of hilarious.

I love it when people approach me with pitches and ideas. I love people that are bursting with enthusiasm and passion. With energy and talent. Those people get published. Those people get internships and jobs.

It’s not about being perfect – everyone makes mistakes from time to time. But someone that makes a genuine, honest mistake is not the same as someone who just doesn’t have it.

Editors are savvy and switched on – we’ve usually worked with a lot of people and a lot of words. We know what works and what doesn’t. And, usually, who works and who does not.

Below you will find a small selection of screenshots from emails I’ve received – along with my exact first thoughts after reading them. I only recently decided to capture some of these excerpts from emails to bring my point home. Part of me wishes I’d been doing this for years; there’d be a veritable treasure trove of errors to share.

Hmm, might need a little rethink.

First up, it takes two clicks to discover whether it’s a Sir or a Madam that heads up Onya Magazine. Use those two clicks to discover the name of the person you are emailing. I don’t take well to Sir/Madam or To Whom It May Concern. If you can’t find the name of the Editor, or the person you think you should be emailing, you probably shouldn’t be a journalist or a writer. Basic research skills are a must.

Herewith, go away.

Mixed font sizes and colours. Buh bum.

To Whom It May Concern. Buh bum.

Wittingly obvious this person is no writer.

It’s really sad when people seem lovely and say nice things about your publication but it’s even more sad when they’re three years into an expensive journalism degree and still miss the fundamentals.


It’s definitely S-I-E-G-E-R. Maybe the old  ‘i before e, except after c’ game would be handy.

Dear blank,

I don’t care.

What some people fail to understand is that it doesn’t matter where you work or what you’ve done, what matters is that this is your first point of communication to an entirely new audience or person that isn’t aware of your background – so write accordingly.

Excelled? Clearly.

That’s lovely. This is actually Onya Magazine.

I cannot tell you the amount of times I have received an email asking for an internship at Vogue or work experience at Beat. I like to reply to these emails like so;

‘Thanks for your email. If you’d like to undertake work experience at Frankie Magazine, may I suggest emailing them with your request.’

I understand that people tend to copy and paste the same submissions to Editors around the country. I really get it. But carelessness and laziness is exactly that; careless and lazy. Two things a good writer is most definitely not.

9 thoughts on “I Couldn’t Make This Stuff Up

  1. Hilarious. When I was looking for interns at a NFP organisation, it became very clear to me that it wasn’t the most desirable of positions – comms intern – as the majority of applicants could not string a coherent sentence together and had clearly not done any research on the org. Sad that the same goes for something as awesome as a magazine internship.

    1. Ditto. Hilarious. Love ’em all. Sandi, please continue collating and posting – these would make a delectable ‘How not to get a job in ….’ book. I am new to your blog via Livwrites. I shall be back soon.

  2. Thanks for any other wonderful article. Where else may just
    anyone get thwt type of info in such a perfect means of writing?
    I have a presentation next week, and I’m at the search for such information.

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