Monday, 30 July 2012

Another Writer's Pitching Process

Last week, I was at the Caerleon Writers' Holiday (and after stepping in at the last minute to become the conference's opening night guest speaker ... which involved throwing a lot of chocolate into the audience ... and I've never seen writers move so quickly when there is free chocolate around) I was able to go to a couple of other events during the week. 

One such event was Elaine Everest's tea time talk about pitching article ideas to editors. It's interesting to learn how other professional writers operate, which is why i went along. 

Ironically, it turned out that Elaine's pitching system is similar to mine, but here's what she had to say: 

1. Address your email to the appropriate editor. 
2. Don't waffle. Cut straight to your idea. 
3. Explain what your idea is and how you will tackle it. 
4. Mention a few points about yourself. Why are you the best person to write about this idea? 
5. Include a link to some of your writing so the editor can see examples of your work. 
6. Elaine then prints off a copy of her email. 
7. If you haven't heard after a week, or ten days, send another email enquiring whether the editor has considered the idea yet. 
 8. If you haven't heard after a further week, or ten days, ring the editor. Have your printed copy email in front of you, so that all the information is to hand. 
9. Have another idea to hand too, just in case the editor says he/she doesn't like the idea you emailed. That way, you can say, "I have another idea about ..." Sometimes you can sell the second idea, if not the first! 
10. If the editor likes an idea and offers a commission, ask for email confirmation, or send an email to the editor yourself, summarising what has been agreed. 

 A few final points Elaine made were: 

1. Don't pitch what you can't offer. 
2. Pitch anniversary pieces at least six months in advance. 

More information about Elaine can be found on her website: 

Good luck!


  1. I attended too, made approximately the same notes, and shall be acting on them - honest! One point she emphasised was:
    Don't let them down, even if it means pulling an all-nighter.

  2. Thanks. It is always interesting to find out how others do it. The chase up bit was really informative as that's the bit I am never too sure about.
    But what happens if you still don't get any news when you ring as I have often got an answerphone and the message is never returned.

  3. Maxi - if no-one returns your calls, I'd assume that the idea is not of interest and move on. If an editor likes an idea, they will get in contact. One idea I pitched to an editor in February, was eventually commissioned in October!