Friday, 8 March 2013

To approach or not to approach?

When searching for new markets to pitch our articles to, it can be daunting to approach editors we've never contacted before. I think we sometimes let our imagination run away with us (well, we are writers after all!) and view editors as some sort of Gods to be revered and feared. These editors don't know us or our work from Adam's but far from being aggressive and unapproachable the majority of good editors are constantly on the look out for good copy. Why shouldn't you be the one to supply them with that?

I've approached a couple of new editors recently and they couldn't have been more helpful. My ideas were rejected but I didn't feel as though they had closed their doors to me permanently and I will approach them again. One idea was rejected because they'd recently covered something on a similar theme - that's my fault as I should have studied that particular market more closely. The other was 'not for us, thanks.'

I couldn't find an email address for one editor so I bit the bullet and rang the magazine, thinking the person on reception would give me the address. No. I was put through to 'the department' and before I knew it I was talking to the features editor! So be prepared! You don't want to lose the power of speech when the editor says 'hello.'

So, this weekend I'll be drafting some more article pitches and trying them again and some more new editors. You won't know until you try. Editors are, after all, human as well, and  receive hundreds of pitches a week. So it's up to you to do your research properly and make your pitch stand out from the crowd. This means:

1. Right topic.
2. Professionally put together.
3. No grammatical or spelling mistakes.
4. Written in the style of the magazine.
5. Pitched to the right person at the magazine - by name.
6. Sent to the right e-mail address.
7. Sets out the planned layout of the article.
8. States who your intended 'experts' will be to deliver quotes.
9. Gives the editor a clear idea of who you are as a writer and why you are the person to write this article.
10. Doesn't make promises you cannot possibly keep.

As usual, thorough research is a must and cannot be skimmed on, but don't be afraid to approach new editors once you've drafted the best pitch possible.

Happy approaching!

Julie xx


  1. A great post Julie, I like the tips and hope to start approaching a few more. I had the same experience as you when I contacted The Lady magazine, they put me straight through and were really friendly. Although my idea was not accepted it was great to actually talk a pitch.

  2. Thanks, Di.

    Sorry to hear about Hope too - at least she had a good life once you rescued her.

    I always think that even if the result is a no, at least you had the courage to make that first contact and the editor is aware of you as a writer now, so you can always pitch again and it might be a positive outcome next time.