How to Get the Editor to Read Your Pitch: A Real Life Example
With her permission, I’m sharing Celia Abernethy’s journey to becoming a contributor on multitalentedwriters.com.
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I have a great example of a great pitch letter, from a freelance writer who has become a contributor on MultiTalented Writers. If you want to know how to get the editor to read your pitch, read on.
Getting published on multitalentedwriters.com is simple. You wait until I announce that the site is open for submissions, and then sign up to become a contributor. When you do, you’ll receive an email with clear instructions on what to do next.
These instructions include reading the Writer’s Guidelines closely and using the pitch template I share. You also have to go through the potential topics document and either claim one, or, if there isn’t one that speaks to you, email me with a new idea.
Most of my experience with potential guest writers has been very good, but one in particular stands out.
Celia Abernethy, whose guest post will be published in December, showed her professionalism and willingness to go above and beyond when she pitched me her article, and then again when she sent me her completed work. With her permission, I’m re-posting her pitch email here.
Dear Ms. Abeid-McDougall,
I really enjoy the newsletter, tips and the video tutorials you have been publishing on Facebook and Youtube.
I have heard about your new project www.multitalentedwriters.com, and I would like to contribute an article for the holiday season that I think your readers will enjoy.
I would like to propose a topic that is not on your editorial list. In this article, entitled “7 New Year Resolutions for New Writers” I will share some inspirational lessons and some of my personal experiences from these past two years as a new writer. I will also include comments and advice from other sources and writers. The first goal on the list is “Write Everyday”, which I know, is a fundamental part of your philosophy.
The objective of the article would be to help motivate and inspire your readers, getting them ready for a new, fantastic year of writing. I realize it is ambitious, but I am ready for a new challenge that will test my writing skill.
I would be happy to work with any word count and turn-around time.
I write mainly for Lifestyle and Travel publications. I manage my own magazine online called Milanostyle.com, and my work has been published in HuffingtonPost.com, ThriveGlobal.com, Vietnam-visa.com and LuxAfriqie.net.
Here are some links with samples of my writing:
Why We Need Good News
Bidding on Warhol
A day with Interior Designer Eric Egan at Il Ponte Auction House in Milan
Many thanks for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Please let me know when and in which format I can send you the article.
Lifestyle & Travel Writer
This is an excellent pitch letter for many reasons.
1. It’s obvious that Celia is familiar with my work.
She mentions several of my endeavours and even highlights one of my writing philosophies (writing every day).
Showing that you’re familiar with an editor/blog owner’s work is important, since it’ll show that you can write in that publication’s voice.
There are some small grammar errors in the email, but because the letter in itself is excellent, those errors don’t compromise the pitch.
2. Celia suggests a topic that isn’t on my editorial list and says so.
This shows me she has followed instructions and checked the editorial list prior to pitching her article.
She can follow instructions, which means that editing her piece will probably be a good experience.
3. She explains exactly what she would like to write about and what the main point will be.
Her email is clear, well written, easy to understand, and she gives me all the information I need in order to make a decision with regards to her pitch.
The piece she is pitching fits with the overall intent of the site.
4. She ends her email politely.
Before ending her email, she thanks me for my time. While this isn’t necessary, and there are people who will argue against women saying thanks too much, I completely disagree with this.
Time is the modern world’s most valuable commodity. If you are taking up someone’s time, it shows respect when you thank them for giving you some of their time. It’s nice to do and leaves the person (well me, at least) feeling like you actually appreciate that they’re taking time to read your pitch.
A side note: it’s important to know that I say “thank you for your time” in my emails because I am truly thankful for people’s time. If you’re never thankful for people’s time, perhaps it would be strange for you to end your emails in this way. But personally, I feel that if you’re a freelancer and you’re not thankful for people’s time, what you need is an attitude change, not a change in how you end your emails. More on this in a later post.
5. She asks follow-up questions.
Ending an email with “thank you for your time” is polite, but if you leave it there, then there’s no incentive for a response.
If you ask a follow up question such as “When may I send you the article?” there’s something for the editor to answer (and thus send you a response).
While that doesn’t guarantee the editor will respond to your email, it might make the difference.
5. She clearly followed instructions.
When I praised Celia for an excellent pitch and asked if I could use it as an example in one of my posts, she seemed surprised: “I used your template!”
But you’d be surprised how many people don’t, even though the instructions for pitching are clear.
Rule Number 1 of being a successful freelance writer: Read and follow instructions. You should read Writer’s Guidelines as if your life depended on them. Your career certainly does.
6. She is mindful of timelines.
Celia pitched me an article about New Year’s Resolutions in the beginning of October. This gives me plenty of time to edit it and have it ready in time for December.
If you pitch print magazines, you have to be even more mindful of timelines for seasonal pieces: most require pitches 6 months in advance. So if you’re pitching a Christmas-themed article to a print magazine, you’d need to send your pitch to them by June 25th.
Celia’s pitch was excellent and a pleasure to read. She followed instructions, left plenty of time, and was very professional. All of these things show me someone I would probably enjoy working with.
Although you can certainly be successful with cold pitches, I have found that for me, personalized pitches such as Celia’s work best. This is particularly true if you’re trying to get into publications.
After an excellent pitch, which I accepted, Celia sent me an excellent article, and went above and beyond the requirements of the job. I’ll share how Celia over-delivered on her promises on a later post. Stay tuned. Like on us Facebook to know when that post (and others) go live on this site.