Tips on How to Pitch Your Article for Print and On-line Media
Tidbits to Share
During my Blueprint program I listened to Steve Harrison interview Joel Schwartzberg, author of “The 40-Year Old Version: Humoirs of a Divorced Dad”. The subject was about pitching your articles to print and on-line media. Here are some of the dos and don’ts, and things I took away from that interview.
Before contacting your target media, you should research publications so you can better understand what it is they need and want from you. Read, and check out the magazines you are interested in. You can go to book stores or magazine stands and check out Newsweek, Smithsonian, Self magazine, New York Magazine, Esquire, Education Week Magazine/Newspaper, or whatever subject your writing/article will fold into nicely.
Pick out a magazine that you think you can write for; one that you feel you will have something to offer. Don’t submit or pitch anything that doesn’t fit the media you are considering. They hate pitches that don’t make a good fit for their publication, and it makes them angry when they know you didn’t even read their publication. It’s a waste of their very precious time. Also, they do not accept simultaneous submissions. Therefore, you will need to submit one at a time, and wait for a rejection or an acceptance.
Find out the name of the feature or sections editor for the publication you have chosen to submit to. Also you will need their e-mail address/address. You can Google the publication and search for them. The Editor-In-Chief does not accept submissions. They are looking for unique essays. They want something that stands out; something that is in keeping with what’s in the news, or popular at the moment. A timely subject has a better chance of being accepted. Don’t use more than two or three sentences to sell your essay in the beginning. You want to grab them in a few seconds upon opening your e-mail.
These editors and producers are busy busy, and will lose interest right away if you start to tell your life story, or give too much background information before you get to your point. They are interested in what you have to offer their publication. They move through hundreds of submissions and will choose what benefits their needs, and grabs them first. Tell them why you submitted, why your essay /article is compelling, and timely.
After you have researched, Googled the magazine, and looked up the features, or sections editor for that publication, then compose a good hook to grab them immediately upon opening your e-mail. Do it within a couple of sentences, as I explained above. Paste the essay/article in the body of the e-mail you are sending them (No attachments). Also if your article is very large, you can query them instead of sending the whole article, but remember, get to the point in the first two or three lines. It’s very important to grab the editor’s attention right away.
If you have a press kit, don’t send it to them via e-mail, but rather, send a link for your on-line press kit in the body of the e-mail, along with your submission. It’s easier for them to just press your link than to have to be overwhelmed with a whole package in the e-mail. Explain your link in detail in the body of your e-mail submission. A link leading to a separate page for something pertaining to your article is a good idea also; along with a picture of your book if possible.
If you are able to get an essay published in a well known magazine it can lead to media coverage for your books later on down the road. If your article comes up, say in the news, as one that is informational for their subject of discussion, it can turn into a marketing tool for your books. If the news station Googles a subject, say on educational strategies for elementary grade children, and you have written an article on what grades three to five like to read, your article could be just what they need to round out their news article or even a segment of a show.
In that case, every time they mention your subject matter they could be showing a picture of your book. It’s similar to what happened to Joel Schwartzberg, Author of “The Forty Year Old Version” when he submitted an article on depression. He ended up having a picture of his book shown on TV each time they mentioned his article pertaining to whatever it was they were doing a show on.
I hope you found this article informative. I will share more on different subjects of writing, marketing, and information in general for our world of writing. As I learn, I hope to share, so we can all benefit together. The Best Seller Blueprint Program has been a wealth of information for me. I’ll be back with more tidbits at a later date.