There are five stages to pitching a story idea to an editor:
- You get an article idea
- You write the idea up, in a query letter or letter of introduction.
- You send the pitch letter in, usually via email.
- You wait, frequently in vain, for a response.
- You begin the second-guessing game, and start wondering why your article pitch didn’t get you an assignment.
That fifth stage often sends writers into an emotional tailspin. Instead of sending more pitches, you sit around thinking, “I suck at this. I’m never going to make it!” Instead of sending more pitches, you sit in a pool of misery, thinking bad things about yourself.
The other big problem is that this self-flagellation exercise wastes way too much of your precious time.
There are only two basic reasons why article ideas get rejected — and once you know them, it can help you move on to writing that next query more quickly.