Solution Saturday: No One Seems Interested in My Pitches

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Pitching. Either you love it or you hate it. Regardless of your writing niche, we all have to do it. It can get extremely frustrating, and discouraging, when your ideas just don’t seem to be getting through to anyone, right?

It’s not necessarily the quality of your idea that’s leaving you constantly overlooked. There are a lot of components that go into pitching. We feel a new upcoming series coming on …

But first, we still do want to help you get noticed, or at least increase the likelihood of someone paying more attention to your pitches. 

Solution 1: Find the publication that fits the pitch, not the other way around

It’s probably tempting, when you first start pitching ideas for stories and articles, to seek out your desired publication first. That’s definitely not the best way to go about it. Seeking out a magazine you want to write for, then coming up with a pitch you’re sure they’ll like, you’re putting yourself into a box and sealing the lid. You’re settling for what one publication wants, without giving yourself room to create freely, with the possibility of multiple publications interested in that very topic.

Come up with an idea, maybe even a full story or article, first. Focus on what you want to write about, whatever issue or theme you think is important. Do your absolute best work. Once you have an idea and/or a well-polished draft, then you can do some research and figure out where your work might fit the best. 

Solution 2: Know exactly whom you’re writing to 

Not just the editor that will be reading your pitch: this is important, but what we’re referring to here is your pitch and/or story’s audience. This actually helps with our first solution, too. Know not only the message you want to get across, but who you’re trying to reach. Who do you picture clicking on the link to your story, when it finally gets its own spot on the web?

Knowing your audience makes researching the ideal publication even easier. If you’re writing an article meant for college students, you can narrow your search to college-centered blogs and magazines right away once your pitch is ready to be shared.

Solution 3: If one pitch isn’t working, move on

Sometimes, a pitch needs a lot of refining. Unfortunately, the way the virtual submission process works, your pitch will either get accepted or it won’t. Usually you won’t hear back at all if it’s rejected: you won’t get feedback on how to improve it, leaving that part of the process up to you.

Eventually, if you’ve tried submitting the same pitch to a few different relevant publications, with no results, that might mean your pitch needs some work. Sometimes the focus just needs to be narrowed a bit, in some cases. It’s up to you whether you want to try to rework it or just let it fall to the bottom of the pile. But don’t dwell on it; if one thing isn’t working, don’t waste valuable time fussing over it. Just leave it be and move onto another idea.

It’s not you, and it’s definitely nothing personal. Editors know their publications, especially those in charge of screening pitches and evaluating submissions. They can only accept so many, and they can only accept stories that fit with exactly what they’re looking for. Don’t give up. Honestly, if you spend enough time pitching good ideas, eventually, someone will take notice.

We’re going to write more about this. We mean it. Stay tuned.

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

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6 thoughts on “Solution Saturday: No One Seems Interested in My Pitches

  1. Mentioned on Twitter, but I love this. I’m a writer and have been teaching since I got into a great Rhetoric program at age 15 (11 yrs). This is the same advice I give my students all the time. Everyone wants the huge outlets, when often the smart thing to do is start small. You’re nicer about it, but I had this actual conversation yesterday: “The New York Times owes you nothing. You got into all 8 Ivy League universities, so try College Confidential. And hang out for a minute before you pitch. Know the publication, not just the editor, and demonstrate value in the forums. No such thing as a free lunch, even if you’re blogging for free.”

    I think he’ll be getting a copy of this today…Very bright kid with lots of potential, and if he wants to make it in politics, he’ll have to get good at writing and talking people into publishing things anyway!

  2. P.S. Probably DON’T PUBLISH THIS because I don’t want you to be embarrassed, but Revise is misspelled in your “Refine and Revise” tab. Easy typo to make and maybe it was a developer, so just wanted to let you know. I’d want to know–but I’m a little neurotic about ethos! Hope this helps :)

    1. Hey, I am willing to be completely open and transparent about my flaws. I think I owe our readers that if I’m going to keep reminding them to embrace their literary imperfections. :) Thanks for pointing that out. Absolutely an easy fix.

      Also, I love writing on this topic and definitely haven’t written about it enough here, which is why I want to continue. I am the managing editor of College Lifestyles magazine, but I started out pitching articles as an intern with them, and now I’m the one sifting through pitches for our Campus Correspondent program. Sometimes it helps to have been on both sides of the process. :)

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