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Watch OK! Pitches on Video, Then Vote!

ok_thumb_now.jpgWelcome to’s Video Pitch Slam 1-on-1. In this edition, OK! editor-in-chief Sarah Ivens gets pitched in person by three lucky writers, says which ideas have legs, and describes just what OK! wants from writers. One writer even gets an assignment!
Watch, then guess who lands the gig.
Video Pitch Slam 1-on-1: OK!
AvantGuildRELATED: How to Pitch: OK!

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Paying Association Magazine Markets

Making a career out of freelancing often means writing for some of the less sexy–but well paying–pubs. John K. Borchardt takes a look at some of the paying association markets, with links and rates for your convenience, at Writers Weekly.

Mastering the Masthead

A good question submitted to Allison Winn Scotch’s site, because I used to always hear the advice that you should study mastheads but that stymied me:

How do I make sense of a magazine’s masthead? I understand what beauty and fashion editors are but I don’t have a clue about what the other titles actually mean. I’d like to understand for those cases where I can’t contact the magazine for the appropriate editor to query, as has happened recently with a major women’s magazine. A dozen phone calls and several messages left for the editorial department netted me nothing.

Allison’s answer here.

The Twelve Days of Writer’s Christmas: Query Letters that Rock

1933338091.01._AA240_SCLZZZZZZZ_V59175064_.jpgLooking for more gifts for writers this holiday season (maybe even self-gifting?) The Renegade Writer’s Query Letters That Rock: The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Selling More Work Faster is now out, written by Diana Burrell and Linda Formichelli. Learn by doing with this book, which provides real examples of, yes, query letters that rock.

Tackling the Trades

The excellent Allison Winn Scotch is about to give birth (huzzah!) so if you read her blog and have been meaning to ask her a question, do it soon! In the meantime, she answers a reader’s question about how to break into the trades, especially if you’re a newbie and unable to get too familiar with the publication.

And the Bad Teases…

Picking up from the below post, Carl Hoffman gives us some examples of good teases and bad.

“Dear Editor, my name is Joe Smith, and I’m a freelance writer in Washington, D.C. I got your name from the most recent 1,120-page edition of the Writer’s Market, and I have a great idea for a story.”
** That line says nothing. It’s not compelling and it shows you don’t have a clue about hooking a reader.

Read more

The Good Kind of Tease

bettytase.jpgIf you’ve got a great tease in your pitch letter, then you’ve likely got a great pitch which will lead to a great assignment. But crafting said great pitch is easier said than done. Carl Hoffman will be teaching a Pitching for Dollars class in DC in just over a week and was gracious enough to share with us some of his advice on how to write the good tease. If you’re interested in learning more about what he’s got to share, sign up for his class!
·The most important thing to remember with a pitch is the oldest writing saw out there: show, don’t tell. The pitch SHOWS, in microcosm, how your piece will be through its writing. Remember that: a pitch shows how the story is funny, or is an adventure, or how interesting or weird the character is; it doesn’t tell these things.
·The tease is the first thing the editor reads. Think of it as an article’s lede.
·It should be a snappy line and first graph meant to grab attention, yet play right to the core identity of the publication.
·The tease’s purpose is to refocus the editor’s attention from a state of thinking about something else to one conducive to reading your story – to make a distracted editor say, “wow,” and sit back in his chair and read on.
·The tease’s only purpose is to get the editor to want to move on to Part 2, where you will then describe and develop the topic.
-Think of the tease as a written seduction. How do you make someone receptive to you?
-Every time you read an email or letter, think about the opening sentence and what made you want/not want to read on. Emulate only what works.

Pitches That Worked: Penthouse

penthouse12.jpgSecond time was the charm for freelancer Noah Davis, whose initial query to Penthouse was rejected, but whose second query led to a story that ran last month. Davis says:

Since I know the most about sports, I decided to focus my pitch in that direction. I have a simliar tone to the rest of the magazine and know what types of stories I want to read. Those two things, along with an ‘in’ made Penthouse seem like the perfect place to try my luck. Originally, I sent Penthouse senior editor Jonathan Stern an email query on March 16, with my article pitch included as a Microstoft Word attachment. The idea came to me because my roommates and I actually put a couch and TV in a cozy corner nook, hung up some posters and Christmas lights, and always played video games there, calling it the FIFA Lounge. It was my favorite part of the apartment. I thought the idea would work in Penthouse because guys of all ages can appreciate a place where they can go hang out with their boys. I knew that if my roommates and I liked it so much, there was a good chance other guys — i.e. Penthouse readers — would, too.

Read more–and the pitch itself–here.

How to Crack the Code

Have you all marked Allison Winn Scotch’s blog yet? Because you surely should. Hers is turning into the kind of blog where I think, “God, I can’t believe people are so generous with their expertise.” Anyhoo, on Tuesday’s blog a writer asked “How do I break into a new-to-me magazine or market?” and Allison kicked it to the equally smart Linda Formichelli, of the Renegade Writer.

Pitching and Catching

kennyshand.jpgWhat is a pitch session? Does a person’s appearance — their demeanor, looks — affect the impression and your interest in their pitch? What are some tips for a good pitch? My book isn’t finished — can I still pitch? These questions and more answered here at Anna’s Red Pen (via le snark.)