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Posts Tagged ‘pitch’

Senior Editor of MAD on Pitching the Magazine

JoeRaiolaJoe Raiola has a job many covet, and few could imagine: He’s one of a handful of full-timers in charge of MAD magazine. He’s also created one of only two officially sanctioned John Lennon tribute concerts. Along with his radio appearances and stand up comedy work, Raiola has been with MAD magazine for 28 years. He insists that working there shouldn’t be considered a proper job: “If you mature, you get fired. It’s a place where you stay perpetually young or silly or both.”

In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do?, Raiola talks about The Beatles’ MAD connection, the atmosphere at mag’s headquarters and his first pitching experience:

What advice do you have for readers interested in pitching MAD?
MAD has always been freelance written. We’re always looking for new talent and new writers. Pitching stuff to us now is pretty easy; you can do it via our website. And we’re actually foolish enough to review everything that comes in. Writers don’t need to include illustrations. When I sold to MAD for the first time in 1984, I didn’t have any skills as an artist at all. I suggested a couple of art notes and had some ideas as to how I thought something could be done, but that was about it.

To learn more about Raiola, including info on his upcoming performance in New York, read: So What Do You Do: Joe Raiola, MAD Senior Editor and John Lennon Tribute Executive Producer?

Mediabistro Course

Travel Writing

Travel WritingStarting September 23, learn how to turn your travel stories into published essays and articles! Taught by a former Vanity Fair staff writer, James Sturz will teach you how to report, interview, and find sources, discover story ideas and pitch them successfully, and understand what travel editors look for in a story. Register now! 

How To Get Your Reality Show On The Air

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So you’ve got a great idea for a new reality show. Now you just have to get it picked up by a network. That’s easier said than done. Reality television is a competitive business these days, and it seems like every month someone’s discovered a new charismatic crop of weirdos (the folks of Duck Dynasty, Honey Boo Boo and her family, etc.) for TV audiences to fall in love with.

So what can you do to make your pitch stand out? In the latest Mediabistro feature, industry vets give tips on how you can impress network execs. Step one: Work on your idea:

Bill Hunt, executive producer of Austin Street Productions, whose expertise includes lifestyle programming and documentaries, said it’s also important to recognize the potential of current themes on TV. “Networks love shows that are the same as other successful shows [yet] different in a unique way,” he said. “Look at all the tattoo shows or the pawn-broking shows — when something is successful, you want to find a different hook into a hot topic. Right now humor seems to be in demand, à la Duck Dynasty.”

For more advice on pitching your TV show, read: How To Pitch Your Reality Show Idea.

– 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.

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.

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.

Compelling Narratives Land $1 A Word at Hemispheres

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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.

XoJane.com is Looking For Intimate Stories

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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.

15 Online Pubs to Pitch Your Personal Essay

 The first, second and third installments of our popular series, Personal Essay Markets highlighted 45 pitchable pubs for first-person stories. Today, we bring you online outlets for the final piece.

E-zines that highlight everything from food and culture to environmental news are taking pitches, so check out the requirements for some inspiration. Who knows? Maybe you can make some extra cash by turning an I-can’t-believe-that-happened-t0-me experience into an essay.

For more, read Personal Essay Markets, Part IV. [Mediabistro AvantGuild subscription required]

A Cultural Renaissance Looks South

Lindsay Bierman, editor-in-chief of Southern Living, says we’re in the midst of a southern renaissance that has brought sweet tea and red velvet ice cream to those above the Mason-Dixon Line. The lifestyle mag draws a wide readership from all over the country, and that goes for freelancers too. As long as your pitch has a southern connection, you could land a byline in the pub.

The magazine has recently undergone some slight changes, though it has been covering the same topics throughout its 56 years of history. “We’ve refined our look and honed our voice, and we’re continuing to make sure that we are staying true to our mission of being a true service book that has actionable content from cover to cover,” said Bierman. “It’s not just a dream book or an aspirational magazine.”

For more tips on what to pitch, check out How To Pitch: Southern Living. [subscription required]

Toure on Pitching, Getting Assignments, and That R. Kelly Interview

Every. Writer. Hates. Pitching. (Imagine you’re a puppy waiting at the dinner table for just one morsel of meatloaf to fall.  “Can I work for you? Huh? Can I? Can I?”)

But Toure, who regularly appears on MSNBC and has penned features for Vibe and Rolling Stone, says freelancers better get over that aversion if they want assignments.

“Oh, I pitch a lot. I do,” the Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? author explained in our Media Beat interview. “I mean, I wanna let people know generally ‘I wanna work for you; I wanna work with you. I wanna do stuff, so keep me in mind.’ So, just that general, you know, sort of selling yourself… And even if those two, three, five things are rejected, you are top of mind for that editor.”

Toure also detailed his strategy for getting big names like Adele and Beyonce to open up on the record (he likes “question clusters”) and revealed what he was really thinking during that BET R. Kelly interview.

“It was about being a cat burglar and not letting him know that he played himself.”

You can also view this video on YouTube.

Part 1: Toure Lights Up the Twittersphere with a Debate on… Tipping?

Part 2: Toure Tackles Watermelon, Fried Chicken and Post-Blackness in New Book

Video: Freelancers, Set Your Sights on Afar

FishbowlNY caught up with executive editor Julia Cosgrove at Afar‘s launch party in New York City to find out more about freelance opportunities.

Last week, we brought you the news that travel magazine Afar bucked the trend and actually made it to the presses despite the economic downturn. Afar officially hit newsstands Tuesday, so we checked in with executive editor Julia Cosgrove for the inside scoop on getting published in the newly minted paper-and-ink pages. Cosgrove says they’re relying heavily on freelancers, so what are you waiting for?

For the down ‘n’ dirty pitching details, check out the full AvantGuild How To Pitch: Afar article.

Craving more video? Go behind the scenes at Food Network Mag with editor Tracy Saelinger.