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Tips for Pitching Magazine Articles

Updated: 2 days ago

I am currently knee-deep in writing a How-To-Paint article for a magazine deadline next week. Which is why I find myself procrastinating and writing this blog post instead. :-)

Many of my pitching tips for magazine articles are similar to those I would suggest when pitching a novel to an agent. Here are a few fundamentals that fit both, followed by some specific things to remember when pitching to magazine editors.

Fundamental pitching tips...

1. Always be polite. If they don’t want this article (or manuscript), they may want the next. They will remember you if you are rude.

2. Follow their specific pitching guidelines. If you can find specific pitching guidelines for a publication or an agent on their website, make sure to follow them. This is evidence that you are serious and engaging on a professional level.

3. Do your research Check your topic is relevant to the specific publication or agent; i.e. don’t waste their time. Similarly to being rude, if you waste an agent or editors time they are less likely to open your next email, submission or pitch.The Writers and Artists' Yearbook is a great place to get information on different publications. It's also useful to go to your local newsagents or supermarket and actually see what a huge range of publications there are.

4. Be concise. Agents and editors don't have time to read a long rambling email. Your idea may be brilliant, but if you can't condense your thoughts into a brief powerful pitch, why should they believe you know what you are talking about or that you have the skills to pull it off.

Things to remember when pitching a magazine article...

1. Pitch to the right editor - the magazine website will often list which editor deals with which section of the magazine. Research them. A few minutes working out who is the best fit will increase your chances of success immensely.

2. Include catchy title plus brief outline. Hit them with a hook, then outline where are you going with article. 3-4 bullet points are enough. Don't waffle.

3. Introduce yourself and your experience. Basically why you? What about you makes you the perfect person to write this article? I know - it's tricky to do include all this and keep your pitch short and snappy. I didn't say this pitching lark was going to be easy.

4. Explain why you think the piece is timely. Why this article? Why now? You are brilliant and you can do it, so tell them that.

5. Include contact details. Don't focus so much on all the other parts of the pitch and then forget to give them a way to get back to you. One assumes they can hit reply on your email, of course, but it won't hurt to add to your professional email sign off. Think about including a link to your website and social media (if relevant) and a phone number - if you are comfortable giving it out. I suggest placing these elements after you write 'best wishes, Jane X. That way they aren't in the main pitch and won't distract from your hook and bullet points but they are available if the edior wants to check them out.

The main difference between pitching a manuscript and pitching a magazine article...

Unlike pitching a manuscript, you don't have to have written the whole magazine article before you pitch it. In fact, it's better if you don't. The magazine will have a specific word count and a deadline for you to work towards. Why waste time writing something you are probably going to have to re-write anyway when / if it is commissioned? And, let's face it, if it isn't commissioned you won't get paid for it. (Which reminds me to make a note to write a blog on being paid for magazine articles. Speaking of which, I had better get back to my article or I'll miss my deadline. Wish me luck.)

Thanks for joining me. Leave a comment below, if you found that useful. I'll be back with more writing (and painting) tips soon.


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