Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tips on How to Pitch Magazines Successfully

I had the honor of taking part in a panel discussion last night in Charlotte, courtesy of the local chapter of the Women's National Book Association-Charlotte (WNBA) and the Charlotte Writers' Club. I have to admit I was nervous about presenting on the topic of how to make money writing for magazines, but once I began writing down my talking points I realized I have a learned a thing or two  about magazine publishing over the years. The audience couldn't have been more attentive, and they had some great questions for all the panelists, which included Karon Luddy, Alice Osborn and Mica Gadhia. One thing I regretted was that I didn't have time to make copies of a handout. So, for anyone that was at the panel and missed any of the "Do's and Don't of Pitching Magazines," I've included them below:

Do's and Don'ts of Pitching Magazines

Don’t send out scattershot query letters. Meaning, don’t write up one query letter and send out to multiple magazine editors at once. Editors are much more likely to consider you for an assignment if you are familiar with the magazine you’re pitching and make your query personalized. Spend a little time skimming through some recent issues of the publication, and get a feel for how it is laid out. Mention recent published articles that you connected with to show your familiarity.

Do have an interesting lede (or hook)
pertaining to your article topic that illustrates why it would make a good piece for a magazine. You only have a few seconds to catch an editor’s eye. Make them count.

Do pitch different types of magazines, both big and small.
It’s a great experience, and over time, you’ll become more comfortable crafting your ideas and hitting the send button.

Don’t send your ideas to the wrong person. Study the masthead of the magazine you are hoping to query. Publishers typically focus on the sales side of a magazine and aren’t really connected to the editorial side. Your best bet is to address your query to a specific editor.

Do pick up a copy of the latest version of The Writer’s Market.
You will find listings of magazines you never even knew existed, including editorial contact names, pay rates, and what types of articles specific markets are seeking.

Happy writing and querying, everyone!

From left to right: Karon Luddy, Alice Osborn, Me, Mica Gadhia