Now, this is seriously cool.
On every public holiday in their respective countries and at the end of each year, I e-mail my 60-plus biomedical-journal authors who are non-native speakers of English, even the ones I've worked with only once, to wish them a good holiday and thank them for choosing me as their editor. And for the new year, I usually snail-mail greeting cards to them. They all like this.
Well, okay, now that the expository paragraph is out of the way, here's the cool part:
In March 2010, I e-mailed all of my authors in Japan to ask whether they were okay after the earthquake and tsunami. One of the authors who didn't reply is one for whom I last edited a manuscript in 2005. I was left wondering whether he was hurt or dead or instead was just too busy to answer my message. But late last night, he e-mailed me; the subject line reads "Long time no see." He used my 2010 message as a starting point to contact me to ask me to edit his latest manuscript.
This little adventure illustrates my belief that self-employed editorial professionals should never give up on hearing from past clients, because some of them may save our e-mails, waiting till they need our services to reply. Just keep on contacting them.
Updated at 11:4 a.m., January 10, 2012: My long-lost author has agreed to my project fee and a February editing start date. Hurray!
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