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:
Thinking about going back to school to learn journalist skills to help your freelance career?
You could…if you want to waste time and money. Don’t get me wrong, learning is good. But do you really need to spend a couple years in the classroom and a pile of money on tuition to develop journalist skills? No.
In case you’re wondering, I’m one of those people with a master’s degree in journalism. That’s the route I took to develop journalist skills to write for newspapers and magazines, and ultimately carve out a career as a freelance writer. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
You don’t need a degree to be a freelancer. After all, The Carol Tice is a college dropout.
But you do need journalist skills to do things like dig up information, generate ideas, interview sources, find fresh angles, craft headlines, and write great content.
So how do you develop journalist skills to get more writing jobs? Skip the college route, and learn by doing. Here’s what you need to know:
Want to write for magazines?
It’s the dream for a lot of freelance writers.
Maybe you’ve got your sights set on getting published in a glossy consumer magazine with millions of readers.
You read every issue. You study the headlines, writing style, and topics. And you think about story ideas for your dream magazine…a lot.
That’s a start. But how do you turn your story ideas into an assignment with a contract, your byline in a popular magazine, and a check in the mail?
One freelance writer took the challenge to get published in AARP: The Magazine…a highly-competitive niche magazine that pays $1/word.
At first she didn’t see a clear path to break in. But with a little effort, she discovered a strategy to write for magazines that really works, whether you’re just starting out or a pro.
Want to steal her idea to break into your dream pub? Here’s what you need to know:
Here’s a little secret: The best editor in your niche frequently gives the same freelance writers story assignments.
Sounds pretty good if you’re one of those writers, right?
But what if you’re not? Is there a best editor Book of Commandments you can follow to move up and earn more?
That’s kind of the million-dollar question.
You spend a lot of energy and time sending out pitch letters and letters of introduction. How do you catch the attention of the best editors to expand your freelance writing business?
If you’re feeling like trying stay fully booked is an exhausting effort, you’re not alone.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. There’s a more energy-efficient way to get repeat freelance work from the best editors.
Want to learn how to get more assignments with less effort? Here’s how it’s done:
Note: In this post from the past, you’ll learn about one easy method to come up with story ideas that never gets old. Enjoy! —Carol.
Are you short on story ideas to pitch magazine editors?
A lot of writers make it a lot harder than it needs to be to come up with story ideas to land an assignment.
You try and be ultra clever. You spend countless hours doing research looking for a nugget of information…and then another. Or you second guess every single one of the story ideas you come up with. Sound familiar?
Some story ideas deserve that kind of attention. But if you’re hustling to land more work and make more money, you need to pitch story ideas that sell.
And there’s one angle that few writers take the time to craft, but that often results in an easy sale.
What is this slam-dunk idea? Let me show you how it’s done: