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This Pitch to AARP The Magazine Worked — Here’s Why

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Freelance writer Joan Trossman Bien knew she had an interesting story on her hands. A friend introduced her to Dulanie Ellis, a 64-year-old documentary filmmaker who discovered her true passion later on in life. Bien thought Ellis’ story was a perfect fit for AARP The Magazine, and pitched it as a profile for the feature well.

Features editor Margaret Guroff thought the piece would work better for the mag’s FOB, and passed it along to David Dudley. One of Ellis’ documentaries was about farm-to-vet programs, and Dudley thought it would be an ideal story for the mag’s “Upfront” section. “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. It had a simple, easily understood premise that would make sense even in a short 200-word piece. [And] it had a timely Veteran’s Day connection…”

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.

To read the rest of the pitch and find out why the editors chose it, read: Pitches That Worked: AARP The Magazine.

– Aneya Fernando

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How Bloggers Are Making More Money Thanks to Quarterly.Co

MitchLowe

Mitch Lowe, co-founder of Netflix and former president of Redbox, has now set his sights on a new type of company. He is the CEO of Quarterly.Co, a subscription service that lets people receive physical items in the mail from influential contributors of their choice.

Recent contributors include Marie Claire creative director Nina Garcia, rapper and producer Pharrell Williams, Bill Nye The Science Guy and Gretchin Rubin, a New York Times best-selling author.

In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do?, Lowe spoke about what media personalities can gain from becoming contributors:

How do you think the journalists, authors, bloggers or the media outlets themselves benefit from participating?

In a couple ways. The revenue is one. Right now they get a substantial percentage of the profits. And in addition, they are able to build their fan base and their brand in a whole new way, in a way that’s not currently possible to do. In addition, many of them participate in some of the products — they might own or they might be a sponsor of some of the products that they put in there — so they benefit because our subscribers are highly influential people. I can’t tell you the names of people, but they are people who anybody would love to have their products in the hands of.

To hear more about Lowe, read: So What Do You Do, Mitch Lowe, Co-Founder of Netflix and CEO of Quarterly.Co?

– Aneya Fernando

News-Driven Stories Land $1.50 A Word At Outside

Outside

Outside is looking for writers with a sense of adventure. The monthly mag features articles on pop culture, news, science, tech, fitness and more. Although one might assume the audience is primarily snowboarding dudes from Aspen, Colo., that’s not entirely the case.

Yes, the mag’s audience is predominately male, but many readers are city dwellers longing for an escape. The pub is 70 percent freelance written, and their newly redesigned website is on the hunt for writers keen on fast-breaking news.

The mag’s senior editor Abe Streep tells what kind of stories make it in the mag:

“A pitch on the best hikes in the National Parks probably won’t get you far,” said Streep. But travel news that leads to actionable service — say, a story on how the Grand Canyon’s new permitting system for rafters affects readers — is very welcome. News that leads to service is the ideal: new lodges, new technology, new training tools. The magazine is focusing more and more on its core mission: inspiring adventure. “We’re still looking for pop-culture stories,” said Streep, “but only those that are a natural fit for Outside.”

For editors’ contact info and more, read: How To Pitch: Outside.

– Aneya Fernando

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

What to Do After Your Story Has Been Killed

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Let’s say you landed a pitch (hooray!) and after all the effort you put into the research, reporting and writing — the piece gets rejected. What’s your next move?

It can be hard to pick yourself up after your story gets killed. It’s easy to take it personally — but there are countless reasons why your story didn’t make it to publication, and it may have nothing to do with your writing. It could be a time issue, internal changes at the magazine or it could be a new editor who just doesn’t care for your topic.

The latest Mediabistro feature looks at what you should do when your hard work doesn’t make it into the book. Here’s an excerpt:

Be prepared to take responsibility for any shortcomings or misunderstandings. Most importantly, be able to learn from the situation. Not every editor is willing to be your mentor, but some are willing to give you feedback as to why something won’t or didn’t work. And whatever you do, don’t be overly apologetic. You’ll only appear desperate and needy to the editor, which doesn’t bode well if you hope to work with him or her again. I learned the hard way that editors simply don’t have patience for it. Instead, thank them for the opportunity and assure that you’ll apply the lessons from the experience to future assignments.

For more advice on how to move forward, read: 6 Things to Do After Your Story Has Been Killed.

– Aneya Fernando

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

WaPo Columnist Is ‘Really Encouraged’ by Jeff Bezos

MichelleSingletary

Michelle Singletary, the personal finance guru, has truly seen it all. She has worked in radio, once hosted her own TV show (the now defunct Singletary Says) and currently writes “The Color of Money” column for the Washington Post, which is syndicated in more than 100 newspapers around the country.

In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do?, Singletary talks about the state of newspapers, how she connects with readers and what she thinks of the paper’s new owner, Jeff Bezos:

He came and spoke to the newsroom, and I was pleasantly surprised. He was very down-to-earth. He doesn’t come off as being elitist. He’s just a really nice guy. He said a lot of things that agreed with my philosophy on how to deal with our customer base, which is primarily our readers. And he spent a lot of time talking about how we need to make our readers the center focus of what we do, even saying that may not necessarily win us Pulitzers, but it will win us with our readers and our customer base — and that’s what’s going to make us survive. So I’m really encouraged.

For more on the paper’s sale and advice on how to make it in media, read: So What Do You Do, Michelle Singletary, WaPo Columnist and Finance Guru?

– Aneya Fernando

Compelling Narratives Land $1 A Word at Hemispheres

Hemispheres

United Airlines’ Hemispheres doesn’t like to think of itself as just another airline mag. For one thing, it reaches more than 12 million fliers a month, and has attracted big name writers like The New York TimesDavid Carr and Esquire‘s Tom Chiarella.

The pub’s content is 80 percent freelance, and they are always looking for new writers with strong ideas:

“I think of us as a general-interest magazine, as opposed to something that’s more strictly in the travel category,” said Jordan Heller, Hemispheres‘ new editor-in-chief. Yes, the mag’s signature “Three Perfect Days” feature is still there, which highlights the ideal weekend travel itinerary in destinations across the globe, but in keeping with the vision of the EICs who came before him, Heller leans toward the kind of informative, well-reported, non-niche journalism one might find in Vanity Fair or Men’s Journal.

To hear more tips and editors’ contact info, read: How To Pitch: Hemispheres.

– Aneya Fernando

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How to Pick the Right Market for Your Writing

right-market

Nowadays, there are a plethora of pubs for a writer to send submissions to. Thousands of blogs, online magazines, newspapers, literary reviews, the list goes on. You may feel the urge to pitch them all, but it’s important to stop and think about your audience beforehand.

In the latest Mediabistro feature, veteran freelancers give their advice on picking the best market for your work. One main factor a freelancer should consider? Print vs. digital:

When considering whether to submit your work to online or print markets, there are a few key pros and cons for each. Koa Beck, editor-in-chief of Mommyish.com, says that “digital often doesn’t pay as well as print, but you can respond to a current event in a super timely manner and have it go viral… if it resonates with people.” Although print does generally pay more, writing for print is a double-edged sword. Travel writer Susan Barnes states, “I have found for the most part that print pays more, but then again, that market is diminishing.” If you’re a new writer, it can be helpful to bolster your resume by getting published online before jumping into the more competitive world of print. Many popular magazines have online counterparts that are largely fed by the work of new freelancers as well.

To get more tips on how to pick the right market for you, read: Finding the Right Market for Your Work.

– Aneya Fernando

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Jamie McCarthy, Celebrity Photographer: ‘It’s All About Trust’

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Jamie McCarthy has a job that many people (photographers and non-photographers alike) would kill for: He gets to rub elbows with celebrities and take pictures of them. McCarthy’s been in the industry for 17 years, snapping hundreds of celebrities and getting to know them on a personal level, too.

The photographer was mentored by his uncle, the legendary celebrity and nightlife photographer Patrick McMullan. They worked together for eight (somewhat tumultuous) years before McCarthy decided to give his solo career a shot. He now works for both WireImage and Getty Images.

McCarthy recently spoke with FishbowlNY editor Richard Horgan about his favorite clients, surprising reactions to his work, the ubiquitous TMZ and why building trust with celebrities is essential. Here’s an excerpt:

Has the rise of TMZ affected the way you do your job?
Not really. My team of photographers at Getty, we’re kind of like the anti-TMZ. We’re the guys that are pretty much on the inside. So we’re the guys who want to do the nice photos and make them look good, whereas TMZ and those guys I feel like they’re looking more for the dirt on celebrities. My clients hire me because they know they can trust me and I’m not going to give up secrets about them and I make them look good. I want people who see the photos to say, ‘Wow, she looks beautiful’ or ‘He’s great-looking.’ Also, I only shoot at events where people are expecting photographs to be taken. I’ve never tried to shoot people in their personal lives. That’s not my style.

To learn more about McCarthy and his work, read So What Do You Do, Jamie McCarthy, Celebrity Photographer?

Aneya Fernando

XoJane.com is Looking For Intimate Stories

xoJane

XoJane.com, the brainchild of Jane Pratt (of the lauded 90s mags Sassy and Jane) is an uber-successful women’s website with 2 million monthly uniques. The site focuses on personal essays, which cover a plethora of (often controversial) topics, including: gender issues, weight struggles, addiction, birth control, dating, pregnancy, food, fashion, pop culture and the list goes on…

The site’s success can be attributed to its authentic writing, and it certainly helps that there are zero stock photos used (writers must submit their own personal photos with each article they write). The pub’s content is 75 percent freelance, so it’s an ideal place for any scribe with a strong voice or opinion to get their foot in the door. Executive editor Emily McCombs explains what kind of writer they’re looking for:

Writers who are open to sharing their intimate stories will find xoJane.com to be ideal and edgier than other women’s sites. “I think our site is a lot more personal. Almost everything is [written in the] first person,” McCombs says. “Our [goal] is not aggregating or responding to what’s going on in the Internet. It’s mostly original content. We can get pretty outlandish. We’re not afraid to try something that might a little bit weird or a little bit crazy.”

To hear more tips on how to get published on xoJane.com, read How To Pitch: xoJane.com

Aneya Fernando

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Land $2 a Word for Innovative Articles at AARP

AARP The Magazine, one of the most successful magazines for the over 50 set, is looking for freelancers who have something meaningful to say. And despite their older clientele, the magazine is not only published in print, but also on tablets and online.

AARP has an enormous readership (its circulation is 22 million, yet it reaches an astounding 34 million people). Even better news: 60 percent of their content comes from freelance writers. Marilyn Milloy, deputy editor, explains the magazine’s mission:

Our greater mission is to redefine aging in America by showing that attitude, aspiration and actions are more relevant to quality of life than how old you are,” she said. “We don’t have direct competitors, but magazines in our competitive set would include Reader’s Digest, More, Prevention and Money. We overlap with all of them. But we’re unique because of our size and our laser focus on people over 50. These are the people who most matter to us, so we show their images and offer content based on where they are in their lives — whether it’s advising how to get the most from their healthcare dollars, their work, their travel or their grocery shopping.

For editors contact info and pitching etiquette, read How To Pitch: AARP The Magazine.

Aneya Fernando

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

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