Monday, 11 June 2012

Pitching Away

I was on a social network site the other day, when a fellow writer moaned about editors who never seem to respond to pitches. Yes, it happens - frequently - but the best way to avoid this is to give the editor a great pitch, pitching a great article. (Easier said than done, I know!)

But I thought I'd share with you one of my recent pitches, which led to a commission. Here's my email pitch:

Dear [Editor's Name]

Would you be interested in a 1,000-word guided tour around Caerleon, near Newport, Wales? The article will show readers what can be seen in the town's museums, before taking them on a walk around town to explore the Roman remains that still exist. What's so special about Caerleon?
  • Caerleon is one of only three permanent Roman Fortresses in Roman Britain, which the Romans established in 75 AD. 
  • It's the home of the National Roman Legion Museum, and also the Roman Baths Museum.
  • There are excellent Roman Amphitheatre remains to explore, beside the River Usk
  • Caerleon is the only place in Europe where remains of a legionary barracks can be seen.
  • Sections of the Roman town walls still exist.
I've attached some lo-res images of some photographs I have available, which might be useful for illustration purposes.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,


Why do I think this pitch worked?

  1. It's short. It's a brief email. Editors are busy people. Get your message across quickly.
  2. It bullet points key facts, quickly. Look at that bullet-pointed information: Caerleon is one of only three permanent Roman fortresses in the UK. There were many other Roman fortresses in the UK, but they weren't permanent. The remains of the legionary Roman barracks are the only ones to be seen in Europe. These are quite startling facts, which show how special this place is and why it's the focus of this article.
  3. I've attached a few pictures (including the one in the blog posting). If you can, show an editor what images you have, because if an editor likes the images, they frequently take the words!
Don't expect a response straight away to your pitch. This idea was pitched on 13th April (a Friday the 13th, actually!) and was commissioned on 29th May - so six weeks later. Always do what an editor asks in a commission - when the editor came back to me she wanted a different word count.

I'm not saying that a short, bullet-pointed pitch will earn you a commission every time, but it will help to keep your idea focused, which makes it stronger. 

Good luck.

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