How to Pitch

How To Pitch: Writer’s Digest

This 99-year-old publication is looking for stories about the writer experience.

Circulation: 60,000
Frequency: 8x/year + 2 special issues
Special issues: Yearbook (December); Craft-Based Workbook (July)

Background: In an era where print publications have been folding left and right—crushed under the weight of too much competition or the Internet, Writer’s Digest is an industry staple that will be celebrating its 100th anniversary next year.

The publication prides itself on keeping its readers (mostly novelists who are aspiring to get their first book published) abreast of industry trends and providing guidance and instruction from successful authors, says Jessica Zafarris, content director. And just about any successful author you can name from the last century has been featured in the publication—from H.G. Wells and Truman Capote to Maya Angelou and J.K. Rowling.

Most writing publications focus on one form or practice of writing, but Writer’s Digest provides content to just about anyone who wields a professional pen: non-fiction writers, short-story writers, poets, freelancers, screenwriters, and copy writers. “We’re here for anyone who wants to express themselves in writing or earn a living from it,” says Zafarris.

What to pitch: Editors often turn to fresh freelance voices to fill out WD’s feature well. And these are the best places to aim your darts:

Writer’s Digest Interview: This signature section is for any writer who can score an interview with a best-selling author who’s willing to talk about her work and success. Word count: print: 2000; online: 2500.

The Inkwell: This section focuses on unique aspects of the industry. Subjects have centered around investigative reporting and how to create the perfect query. Word count: 1000.

Five-Minute Memoir: This “creative piece that writers write about writing” is the perfect place to pitch stories about any unique aspect or experience of a writer’s life. Word count: 600.

What not to pitch: The Poetic Aside, Meet the Agent, and Conference Scene sections are handled by dedicated writers. Editors are also not interested in pitches that are too self promotional.

Online opportunities: This is the place for published authors to share what they’ve learned about the writing/publishing experience. Editors are also looking for stories about any interesting aspect of writing life. It can pertain to screenwriters, poets, freelancers, etc…at any stage of your career. Word count: 600-1000.

Percentage of freelance content: 75%
Percentage of freelance pitches accepted: Print: 20%; Online: 50%

What publicists should pitch: Editors want to hear from publicists who represent both new and established writers. Lead time: 4-5 months: (If you have a high-profile client: 6-8 months) *Note: Editors are looking to include writers who represent more diverse genres.

Recent freelance story pitched and published: Freelancers have penned articles that tackle genre-blending, 21st-century writing technology, and the changing face of crime fiction.

Etiquette: Pitches need to be “short, sweet and to the point,” says Zafarris. Please send links to clips (no attachments), and include a subhead if the pitch is for a longer, meatier piece. For online-only articles please include a brief summary of your proposed article or guest post, or attach a Word document containing a completed article, along with a headshot, bio and any applicable book cover images. Writer submission guidelines can be found here.

Lead time: 4-5 months
Pay rate: $.30-.50/word; Online: $50-$200

Payment schedule: Payment within 60 days of article submission
Kill fee: 25%
Rights purchased: Negotiable

Contact info:
Writer’s Digest
F+W Media
10151 Carver Rd., Suite #300
Blue Ash, OH 45242

Twitter | @writersdigest | Facebook

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: Though we’ve updated this article recently, the speed at which things move in media means things may have already changed since then. Please email us if you notice any outdated info.]


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How to Pitch