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Chapter
10

Pitching Dos and Don'ts

To increase the likelihood of a successful pitch, follow the best practices of pitching to prospects. I have made several mistakes while pitching, which resulted in the rejection of my pitches. Some of these mistakes were very simple, and I could have easily avoided them if I had paid more attention.

Here are some points to consider when pitching:

Do:

  • Do your research before you pitch. Ensure the publication has not published anything like the story idea you’re pitching.

  • Check the publication’s submission guidelines and follow them to the teeth. Many publications post their guidelines on their website. Some of these guidelines include, for example, the title that you should use in your pitch email and whom to address it to.

  • Send a clean pitch. Make sure there are no typos and double-check the prospect's name. Your pitch can get rejected due to this minor transgression.

  • Provide a nuanced hook. A great pitch usually starts with a good hook. 

  • Pay attention to deadlines. It's essential to check the publication's pitching deadlines to make sure they’re still accepting pitches. 

Don't:

  • Don't send the whole article as a pitch. Editors don't like that. It might indicate that you’re sending your pitcher to different publications simultaneously, which is a pitching practice that's frowned upon.

  • Don't send a generic pitch to multiple clients without personalizing it for each one. This can come across as lazy and unlikely to lead to a successful pitch.

  • Don't ignore the length. Your pitch should be concise and clear enough for editors to get an idea of your article and why they should consider it. Ensure you don't write a long-winded pitch with unnecessary details; likewise, avoid pitching an overly brief idea without providing sufficient information. 

  • Don't be afraid to follow up after sending your pitch but do so politely and professionally. A quick email or message to check in and see if the client has any questions or feedback can be an excellent way to keep the conversation going and increase your chances of getting your article commissioned.

By avoiding these common missteps, you can ensure that you create successful pitches and get more of them accepted by publications. 

Now that you have gone through the playbook, you should be able to write a pitch with a solid story idea that’ll grab the attention of editors and marketing managers. Go ahead and pitch to your heart’s content. You might get rejected, but you just need to soldier on, as this is just part of the process of becoming a published writer. Happy pitching.

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