Despite my many years as a writer, I still dread pitching.
It’s my least favorite part of the job and yet, it’s the part writers can’t ever seem to escape from. If we want those fancy bylines, we have to get past the pitch.
The hope is to have the icy formality of a cold email melt into the casual warmth of a newly cultivated relationship. This transaction is meant to pass excitement about your work from you to an editor.
But knowing that doesn’t necessarily make pitching any easier.
Here are the top three mistakes I see my coaching students make when pitching magazines and newspapers:
1. Making the pitch too long.
Imagine your editor is reading your pitch on the subway, one hand scrolling through the email on their phone, the other clinging to the grab rail while passengers jostle them back and forth. Keep your pitch easy to read and to the point.
2. Mistaking the pitch for a story instead of a sales document.
Your pitch is supposed to sell your story, not substitute it. Think less about making it beautifully written and more about making it compelling.
3. Thinking pitching is “bothering” an editor.
By sending pitches consistently, the editor grows increasingly familiar with your name. Think of it like networking. The more repeatedly you offer, the more they instinctively feel the pressure to say yes.
Are you ready to start pitching like a pro?