Ever wonder what magazine editors are thinking?
You know they sift through a ton of query letters and pitches. And many of those end up in the slush pile.
They’re always on a deadline. Probably a little stressed. And they count on freelance writers to help produce great content for their publication and readers.
But what is it that magazine editors look for in a pitch or query letter? And how do you get past the delete button when an editor opens their email?
If you want to write for magazines, even pro freelancers will tell you rejection is part of the gig.
But if you can learn to think the way magazine editors do, you’ll significantly increase your chances of making a connection and landing assignments to make a living writing.
We recently caught up with two smart freelancers to learn more about what it’s like for magazine editors, what they’re looking for, and how to stand out when you pitch a story idea. Here’s what you need to know:
Are your guest post pitches getting ignored?
If so, there may be some concrete things you can do to fix that. And it’s worth taking the time to figure out how to make your guest post ideas better.
Plenty of writers I know get all their freelance clients from the exposure they get guest posting on popular blogs. You can slog away posting on your own little blog named “blog” that’s living under a tab on your writer website, but few prospects ever see that.
Start guest posting for some high-traffic sites about the topics you’d like to get hired for, and all of a sudden, the calls start coming. These clients are usually impressed as heck that you’ve appeared on that big blog, and dying to hire you, in my experience.
To improve your guest-post pitches and get more posts approved, you’ve got to know how to please editors. So I asked a bunch of editors at popular sites what writers are getting wrong in their pitches.
Listen in as nine editors tell us their pet peeves. Here’s what writers are getting wrong:
Tagged with: blogging
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For a while, I had a large client that hired many writers. My contact was an editor who managed the freelance staff. He was an abrupt man who spared no feelings.
At the time, I had only worked directly with clients. I could meet their goals, but my writing lacked force. I over-wrote, dismissed structure, and indulged my narcissism with unnecessary wit. I wasn’t bad, but I had that collegiate write-everything-you-can-think-of mentality.
My first experience working with a professional editor was heart-wrenching. It was a trial by fire: get better to get paid. But those lessons stuck with me and made me a better writer.
Want to improve your writing?
Avoid making the same mistakes as I did, and check out the seven hardest lessons this editor taught me:
Tagged with: editing
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Pleasing editors may seem difficult. But you don’t have to be confused about how to handle these tricky relationships any more.
We’ve got tips for freelance writers who want the inside line on how to become an editor’s favorite, “go-to” writer.
Many editors from consumer, trade, airline, and business magazines have shared their best tips for freelance writers in the Freelance Writers Den’s “Ask an Editor” podcasts.
We combed through the transcripts of these calls to find what makes them say “yes” to pitches. Check out these awesome tips from nine different editors to improve your pitches — and your relationships with editors:
Have you ever wished you could find out what editors really think when they read your pitches and stories?
Now you don’t have to wonder, because eight editors have shared their biggest freelancing pet peeves in the Freelance Writers Den’s semi-regular “Ask An Editor” Den meeting calls.
I’ve boiled down reams of transcripts to bring you the choicest remarks about writer mistakes from a mix of consumer, trade, and company magazine editors. Check out these freelance writing sins and learn how to avoid doing the things editors hate most:
It’s one of the biggest problems in freelance writing.
You send out a query to an editor, or a letter of introduction to a business.
You never hear back. You’re left to wonder what you’re doing wrong.
Or you submit an article, and it gets killed. They give you some vague reason, such as, “Just not a fit for us at this time.”
How can you ever improve?
You’re stuck. But you need to break through and get answers, or you’re not going to get the kind of great-paying gigs you want.
Fortunately, there are several paths out of this dilemma. One is to hire an expensive writing coach and pay thousands for their input.
But there are free ways, too. Here are three: