If you want to get something published, you’re unfortunately at the mercy of the gatekeepers — AKA editors. It doesn’t matter what kind of writing you do or how long you’ve been doing it, the art of the pitch is an essential part of getting your work out there. Here are the essential ingredients for a successful pitch in the age of email:
It is easy to give up when all you hear is silence, but it pays to be persistent. On average you can expect to email the editor 6-8 times before receiving a positive response. Sending those emails at strategic times can improve the odds of success, so set your alarm and act accordingly.
You will not get far pitching a recipe to a motor sports editor or sending the great celebrity profile you just wrote to the editor of a tech website. Make sure your pitches are relevant to the subject matter of the editor in question. Make sure the editor, or their team, covers the subject you have in mind.
Editors get pitches all day long, and many times the pitches all feel the same. If you want to break through the noise and get their attention, you need a novel approach. Focus on the uniqueness of your angle to pique their interest and make them want to read what you have to say.
Having a credible voice is a key underpinning of success. Why should the editor listen to what you have to say? What expertise do you bring to the story? What about your background makes you the right person for the job? Including a short 2-3 sentence bio with your pitch can help you get the editorial attention you’re looking for.
As a writer, your portfolio is your reputation, so let the editor see what you have to offer. Experienced writers should have plenty of clips to showcase, and even beginning writers may have a few bylines they can share. If you want to get the attention you need, make sure you include such clips along with your pitch.