Monday, 22 April 2019

Magazine Writing, with Dan Metcalf

If you're thinking of writing for magazines, then join the club. There are thousands of freelance writers out there just waiting to get the nod from an editor, and you'll have to make yourself shine out in the crowd. Here's a few tips on how to pitch to a magazine:

1. Submit a proposal – Let's face it, you don't have the time to write a spec piece of journalism, and your editor doesn't have time to read a full article in the hope it may be perfect for their mag. Perfect the art of the short email, getting to the point quickly and succinctly, and giving the Ed all the information they need to make a decision.

2. Have an angle – Business books yell from the rooftops about having a USP – Unique Selling Point, and you must have one too. What makes you the perfect person to write this piece? What is so different about the article that the magazine should snap your hand off to take it? It could be something small like your red-hot writing style, or something more professional, like your experience in the area. Get it in your pitch and don't give them an excuse to say 'thanks but no thanks'.

3. Keep it short – your pitch should fit in an email that will take less than a minute to glance over. Keep it to around 150 words and structure it so your main headline is at the front of the paragraph, grabbing the editor's attention. Follow it up with how you are going to write it and what the article is going to include.

4. Be professional – No one wants to work with an amateur, so as far as anyone is concerned, you are a professional writer. Get a business card printed up – there, you're a writer now. Be business-like and courteous, follow up the pitch with a friendly 'nudge' email a few weeks after you submitted it, and no matter what you do, STICK TO THE DEADLINE. It's there for a reason.

5. Ask for money – The current climate means it is more common than ever to have writers writing for free, but if you want to make some sort of career out of this, then you need to be upfront and make sure that everyone knows you intend to be paid for your work. Don't under value yourself either, or you'll be setting a standard for the future and for your peers.

6. Get social – Twitter is a must nowadays, so you can network with editors from the comfort of your laptop. Here is where you can keep in touch and perfect the 140 character pitch!

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Dan Metcalf is the writer of the Dino Wars series

1 comment:

Anne Booth said...

Thank you for this. I do have some ideas for magazine articles so this is very timely.