Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Feature Focus

I've been a bit lax on the article writing so far this week as I've been busy trying to keep my word count up for my novel as part of the madness that is NaNoWriMo. I'm taking part this year for the first time and I have to write 50,000 words of a novel in the 30 days of November. I don't know what possessed me but so far, to my utter amazement (and my family's) I am keeping up to a decent word count.

I still haven't heard anything back from the editors I've pitched ideas to or sent actual manuscripts to and I suppose I'm using my frustrations on that point to fuel my NaNo writing. Has anyone got any useful ideas on what to do if you hear nothing back re your pitches?I keep sending them out there but as I said previously, it's like I'm lost in space, drifting out over the galaxy, beyond reach of all communications. Don't they say that in space, no one can hear you scream?!

I'm devoting my writing time tomorrow to polishing up and sending out a couple of articles and I'll work on polishing my pitching technique (and I don't mean tents or balls!) and sending more out in the hope one will stick.

I tend to try and catch the editor's attention right from the start by putting a statement/title in the subject line that's unusual or surprising and then I go on in the main body of the text explaining who I am. I then go straight into the idea, mentioning side bars and people I will be quoting - unusual facts or techniques I'll be discussing and I include a sample photo or two. The whole thing is probably about 100 - 150 words, no more than two short paragraphs - three at the most. I then put my contact details at the end.

I know it works sometimes as I've had some articles accepted, but I get a lot of misses too where I hear nothing back. I do what I'm told and keep sending them out but it's so frustrating when you want to be given a chance to write this article you know is going to be great because the subject matter is brilliant and you know you can write to a publishable standard. But you can't bring it all to life if you're falling down at the first hurdle of the proposal!

So tomorrow is not NaNo day but ArNo day for me, where I try and take aim and hit my target magazines. I've said it before and I don't want to sound like a broken record, but the only way forward is to keep smiling (paste it on with face paint if you have to) keep pitching and writing and improving your writing skills and sending your articles out there and one day an editor will take you by surprise, and catch you out by wanting to see an article you've pitched to them now that you haven't written yet! I look forward to that day and NaNoWriMo has certainly taught me how to speed write so will come in handy, should that day arise!

Julie xx

4 comments:

  1. I'm not really sure what to do about the non-response thing. Some magazines just never do respond and I think we have to accept that. If it's a pitch rather than an actual article I usually leave a decent interval (several months) and then send elsewhere. If it's an actual article, and particularly if it's been sent as a result of a positive response to a pitch, I would chase after a reasonable time had passed. What's reasonable depends on the mag and how keen the positive response was.

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  2. Thanks, Helen

    It's difficult to know what to do isn't it? And I don't want to harrass the editors as I know that will lead to a definite NO! or just being ignored further.

    I'll just keep sending articles and proposals out and hope that a few stick!

    Julie xx

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  3. It's hard when you don't hear back, but I think Helen's given some very good advice there.

    XX

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  4. Yes, Helen's advice was great, Suzanne. I'm still going at it and have bought some magazines today to study to see if there's anything I can write and submit to them.

    Julie xx

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