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How to Write a Successful Magazine Pitch

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Sending a cold pitch to a major publication such as AARP The Magazine can be daunting. Freelancer Joan Trossman Bien knew she needed to get the editor’s attention fast, and that her subject had to be relevant and timely. She ended up pitching a story about Dulanie Ellis, a 64-year-old documentary filmmaker who found her passion in the second stage of her life.

The mag’s features editor Margaret Guroff thought the piece was a better fit in the FOB, and she passed it along to another editor, David Dudley. “The bottom line here is that Joan’s idea had at least three or four big things going for it,” said Dudley. “It hit on an issue that we’d been wanting to write about (the fact that American farmers, as a population, are getting so old on average). [And] it had a simple, easily understood premise that would make sense even in a short 200-word piece.”

THE PITCH:

Ms. Guroff:

I would like to write a profile for you about a woman who has truly found herself in the second act of her life and has made the many changes needed to accomplish her new passion. There is a new trend developing among baby boomers, brought about by a combination of circumstances and a belief that once you step aside, you lose your involvement in life. The majority do not intend to retire. Dulanie Ellis counts herself in that crowd.

Read the full pitch and find out why editors bit: Pitches That Worked: AARP The Magazine.

– Aneya Fernando

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