Ten Top Tips for Pitching: How to Get Happily Published

Publishing has changed a lot over the years, but writers still need to pitch, something I discuss in my writing classes for The Writer's Workshop.

Publishing has changed a lot over the years, but writers still need to pitch, something I discuss in my writing classes for The Writer’s Workshop.

In my writing classes for The Writer’s Workshop, I always teach students how to pitch, including the Ten Top Tips for Pitching, the first step in getting happily published. There are so newspapers and magazines that neophyte writers often become overwhelmed. Where do they start? How should they approach publications? What’s the best home for their story? These are some of the questions I answer in my Seattle writing classestravel writing classes, and online writing classes I teach for The Writer’s Workshop. I treated the first five tips in a previous posts. I’ll include the second five of these suggestions in this post. Here’s a guide to getting happily published.

1)      CONCENTRATE YOUR EFFORTS – Select a few publications and focus on them. Subscribe to them or read them regularly to understand the magazine’s style, content, history. This is one of the things I emphasize in my writing classes.

2)      WRITE A PITCH LETTER – Your letter should reflect all of your research of a publication. It should interest the editor, provide evidence of professionalism, and convince editor you are ideal for job.  As I emphasize in my Seattle writing classes, the letter should be short, about 250 words.

3)      FOLLOW UP WITH EDITORS – Email the editor within a few weeks of sending letter and/or manuscript. Did he or she get the pitch? Will it work for the magazine? Try to get a response. Once you get a response from a publication, keep going back to the editor. If you publish one story in the magazine, it will be easier to publish more.

4)      SPECIALIZATION – At least at first, zero in on a particular field, develop an expertise that will make you valuable to magazine editors. Specialize in areas you know from your job, hobby, interest or passion. As an amateur vintner, I use that expertise when writing about wine.

5)  PAYMENT – The amount of money you’ll make from a given article is often proportional to the publication’s circulation, from $25 for a local or specialty publication to several thousand dollars or more for a feature in a national magazine.



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