From left: InStyle deputy editor Donna Bulseco, Seventeen senior editor Jessica Blatt-Press, Real Simple deputy editor Rachel Hardage, About.com health editor Kristin Kane, and More contributing fashion features editor Susan Swimmer discuss their ideal freelance pitches at last night’s ASME Next panel.
At last night’s ASME Next “Slam-Pitch Workshop,” magazine industry pros shared their pitching preferences and peeves with an audience of junior-level editors. Real Simple assistant editor Kristin Appenbrink moderated the panel, which included InStyle deputy editor Donna Bulseco, Seventeen senior editor Jessica Blatt-Press, Real Simple deputy editor Rachel Hardage, About.com health editor Kristin Kane, and More contributing fashion features editor Susan Swimmer. With decades of combined experience fielding (and submitting their own) freelance queries, the panelists had plenty to say about the do’s — and don’ts — of pitching.
For a pitch to succeed, Bulseco said its sender needs to have “thought through what you’ll need to think through,” as an editor. “You need to arm your editor with exactly what she needs to be your advocate,” she advised. Someone who just left Page Six Magazine recently pitched Bulseco with an item on Mad Men star January Jones, and included a news peg related to the show: “[The freelancer] understood the things cycling through my mind,” Bulseco said. “Either it hits me and it’s appropriate, or else I don’t really have the time.”
The consensus: pitching via email is a must, with a subject line that explicitly states your pitch is intended for a specific section. “Know the slugs in a magazine,” said Blatt-Press. “Everyone speaks the same magazine-speak, with slight variations.”
“You’ve got about five to 10 seconds to make us keep reading,” explained Kane. Bulseco agreed that pitches “should be fun to read. We’re all readers — we’re all jaded readers,” she said of her magazine editor peers, asserting that queries “can be a little conversational — but informed.”
But what bullets should be dodged when sending freelance pitches?