I’ve just finished one of those jobs that started out as something completely different, and it highlights the importance of pitching.
A fellow writer was having problems getting interviewees to provide the documentation she needed in a suitable format and felt that an article on this subject would be useful. However, being too close to this subject, and because I have a little knowledge in this area, they suggested that I pitch an article on this topic to a magazine.
So, being a good boy, I did what I was told. I spent some time formulating my idea and analysing the market. The magazine often uses 1500-word features for a double-page spread, but sometimes uses 1200-word pieces if accompanied by a few photos, so I pitched the latter. Within a couple of hours the editor responded … with a no.
Bugger. But as I read the email he then went on to suggest tackling it in a completely different format … one I’d not seen in the publication before. Instead, he wanted a nine-photo illustrated piece, where each image was accompanied by a caption of no more than 30 words.
Of course, a commission is still a commission, so I set to work at turning my 1200-word structure into a 270-word illustrated piece. Which just goes to show the importance of pitching. Had I gone off and written the article I and my fellow writer wanted written I’d have been wasting my time. By pitching, I have a sale and the editor has the article they would rather have.
Meanwhile, I still have the original angle to pitch and there are other markets that might be interested in it. So who knows what might happen? It could transpire that by pitching first I’ll have not one but two articles on this topic.