The life of a freelancer is one of turmoil, small success and rejection after rejection. Not to put you off this style of working, many have found their writing voice by doing it which they otherwise would not have staying with one publication, However, in order to sustain your lifestyle, you need money. And to get money you need to be able to master freelance pitches.
Many tears are wept and wiped from sticky keyboards in coffee shops nationwide as freelancers try their best to get their ideas noticed by the cut-throat editors. It should be said that this isn’t an anti-freelance tirade, it’s just a cold slice of reality.
Your great ideas are no good if you can’t explain them well to someone who doesn’t have all the internal context that you have. This is why freelance pitches are so difficult – you wish you could just project your brain onto an email.
Here are four top tips from an editor at The Guardian about freelance pitches.
1. Read the publication and target the editor
Don’t just spray-and-pray with freelance pitches and hope someone picks it up. Spend time reading the publication, seeing what slots are free, what kind of content they’re looking for and then pitch to the appropriate editor, appealing to their style of writing.
2. Vary your tactics
There are some essentials to pitching like having a 10/10 subject line and writing a little bit about your credentials within the pitch but editors are unpredictable beasts. Some prefer the completed piece, others like you to tease some information but leave a knowledge gap. Play around with approach tactics and see what yields results.
3. Don’t be afraid to follow up (but don’t wait too long)
You are likely to be waiting a while for a response but don’t just sit there. If you truly believe in your article, give the editor a couple of hours and then ring them. As long as you’re courteous and leave your ego outside they shouldn’t have a problem with you checking in. Just be prepared for a blunt reply, such is the life of the freelancer.