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Old 11-09-2012, 03:54 PM   #1
RokSivante
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Effective Approaches To Pitching Magazine Editors Ideas... ?

hey all,


I've started doing some freelance writing for a local magazine in Bali, a gig hooked up by a friend, and am curious about leveraging into other gigs...

my friend said the best way to get onboard with other publications is just to send idea pitches to their editors...

could anyone recommend some highly effective approaches for contacting editors unsolicited and pitching ideas so they get accepted?

i.e. is it best to send pitch ideas unsolicited, or make an introduction first asking if it would be okay to send pitches?

would it be wise to send a sample of published pieces along, to prove the quality of writing? or do good ideas usually stand for themselves, with previous works not of so much value...?


any guidance/insight/input/advice would be much welcome & appreciated that could help improve odds of making quality connection with editors via email and pitch ideas getting accepted...


thank you!!! :-)
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:11 PM   #2
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Hi! Welcome to the Water Cooler. Please, make yourself comfortable, and get to know the people here. There is a wealth of information, which is given freely, by experienced and successful writers from all over the world (who also happen to be some of the kindest people I know)!

I have a couple of tidbits of advice to get you started:
  • Read everything you can on freelance writing. It's a pretty broad subject, with lots of "experts" promoting their books, ebooks, courses, etc. I am going to give you two titles I've found indispensable: "Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer" by Jenna Glatzer, and "The Renegade Writer" by Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell. Linda Formichelli also has a blog which is jam packed with helpful hints.
  • Read the posts on this forum. You can search for specific subjects with the search tool at the top of the page.
  • Get a copy of "Writer's Market". It's chock full of magazines to pitch, gives you writer's guidelines and pay rates, and even has some templates for query letters.
All the books I've recommended above are also available at the library.

To answer your question more directly: Yes, I always start with a query (pitch) letter for commercial magazines, and include relevant "clips" (examples of previously published work). If you're just starting out, you obviously don't have clips to send, so it's important that you make your query letter the best it can be. Some people write new samples to send in place of clips, but I don't do that.

For trade publications, I usually send a Letter of Introduction, which doesn't include a specific pitch for a story, but lets the editor know what my experience is in the trade for which their mag is published, my writing background, and that I have availability in my schedule for assignments.

Good luck, and I hope to see you around the boards!
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:45 PM   #3
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I have always used the approach of sending a simple query for each idea. Research the periodical in advance and know what they accept, what guidelines they have and, importantly, their publishing calendar. Smart, and profitable, freelancers don't query in November with an article on making Christmas ornaments. The Christmas issue was planned, written and done in July.

Every magazine will tell you exactly how to approach them. Send them queries about the article they will be looking for next month and you'll do fine. It takes some work to know what that article is though.

Jeff
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:27 PM   #4
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If you find some publications you'd like to write for, read a few issues very thoroughly, look at what they've covered in the last six months or so, and see if you can think of something you know about, which you could write about, which would be new for them. And then just write a very brief email to them, explaining why you think it would work for them, and why you're the person to write it.

It might not be the best approach, but it's worked for me more times than I can remember.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:55 PM   #5
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I read the initial post and lots of ideas and responses were running through my head... but then I read the responses of everyone else and realized that I didn't have a lot to add. So here is a picture of a cat:

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