When is it okay to ask for an editor's time and help? Below are questions I've used to reduce my 'nuisance' levels and determine the difference between:
Being a nuisance and turning off a busy editor
Being a professional and following up
If I do nothing, could the ball be dropped?
Let's say you fax something and don't hear back for several days. While following up to confirm that a fax has been received is adding to an editor's call volume and could be considered a nuisance - in general, it's just good business to make sure the ball hasn't been dropped on either end.
Can I find this info somewhere else, or is the editor the only person who can fully answer it for me?
Some might question how wise it is to ask newspaper editors for overlapping readership info, since it requires work on the editors' end and writers can find some of this info online. However, there's no way a writer can be 100% certain of what readerships overlap. Editors should already know this information and be okay with sharing it in order to ensure that they maintain exclusive use in their region.
How can I save the editor extra work?
Can things be done to save the editor additional emails or phone calls? For example, when confirming the fax was received, forego the phone call and sent a quick confirmation email instead. Ask the editor to respond only if she didn't get the fax, piece, etc.