Last week I ran into a woman who, earlier this year during my very short stint as the editor of the Edible Alaska website, successfully pitched me an article. I shared with this woman, an objectively superior writer and MFA graduate, that her published article was one of my favorite pieces to read and I wondered why she didn’t do more paid freelance work. She replied, “I just don’t know how to sell myself like that.”
There is some cognitive dissonance necessary with crafting a pitch. The writer must convince herself that she is the authority, the expert, the best possible person to write the proposed story. One might need to be a bit of a social worker of the self – a cognitive behavior therapist – to achieve the notion that you, the freelancer, are the foremost expert on “best hairstyles for cats” or “how to pack for the backcountry entirely with Costco items.” As silly as it seems, you must convince yourself that one does have a PhD in cat hairstyles or Costco shopping in order to “sell” your story to an editor.
The feminist in me truly believes that everyone has valuable and numerous story ideas, but a good pitch is very different than a good story. The pitch succinctly summarizes what you will share with the reader, why the story is not only appropriate, but a must-have, for the given publication, and again, why you are the very best person to tell the story. And when you get better at these key factors, you can add to the list: why you should get paid more than the editor initially offers to write the proposed article.
A solid pitcher is a true craftsman with a healthy self-esteem and a working knowledge of the business. A good pitch may get you in the door, but good writing gets you invited back.
Writers class, Pitch Perfect: Fundamentals of the Freelance
Pitch, is Saturday, October 1st,
2-5 pm in Anchorage at the Alaska Humanities Forum. $45 members / $55
nonmembers. Learn more and
(stay-at-home-mom) of @tiny.park.ranger, laid-off editor, adjunct professor of
community engagement, and a trained, but not practicing, social worker. Her newly revised travel guidebook Moon: Big Island of Hawaii hit bookshelves earlier this month. Learn more about her writing