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Pitching an article(3 Posts)
I've actually written something. Not a few scraps of ideas on a post-it that I have imagined in my mind. A whole thing, with a beginning, middle and end.
Think woman's interest, but with a different slant. Or at least, I haven't seen this issue discussed in the mainstream media.
I would really like to try and get this thing published. Even saying that aloud makes me feel a bit sick.
I've done some research and I know that the odds are very low. I'm not a published author. I don't have a back catalogue I can refer editors to. I don't have media contacts. There's just little me, in my spare bedroom, with this article that's burning a hole in my laptop.
A friend who is a published author has suggested 'Why don't you just email it to [name of broadsheet which publishes similar articles]?' It doesn't really work like that, does it, if you're a complete nobody?
I'd be really grateful for any pointers. I'm realistic, I know I won't get accepted by my first contact, and I know it takes years and talent and luck to become a freelance journalist, all the more so in this climate. I'm not looking for that. Just to get this article out to an audience.
Hi Hauntedsemi, I am a freelance writer. I trained as a journalist so it's hard for me to think about the subject from your angle. But I'd just say don't be intimidated. There's no reason you can't be published (though getting paid a decent amount might be another matter). Your friend's suggestion is right; it can work just like that if your idea and writing are right for the publication you have in mind. That's very important. You need to make sure that your writing style 'fits in' with those usually published. Make sure that the length is right too - it's hopeless to send in 5,000 words if all the other articles are 500 words. Edit it endlessly so that the spelling & grammar are perfect and each sentence is crystal clear. Write a really snappy headline and introduction at the top in the style the publication uses. They might not use these but it should help to sell the idea of your article. You can just phone the magazine, talk to the editor's secretary and find the name & email address of the appropriate commissioning editor. Then send in your article 'on spec' with a short covering email selling it in a professional, unapologetic way & saying that you would welcome feedback, positive or negative. If you haven't heard back in a week or two, email again to make sure they're not interested before you move on to another publication. Good luck!
Sorry for long delay in reply, life got in the way. Thanks for these suggestions. This is very helpful (and heartening).
I think my next step is to find a publication that prints similar articles. It would have been ideal for say The Guardian's Family section, but I think that's gone. I will do some research. But thank you.