Whether you're pitching to the editor of the Wall Street Journal or Seventeen magazine, the hard fact is this: you're going to have to sit back and wait awhile. When editors aren't responding right away, it's genuinely because they are busy writing, proofreading, and harrassing the writers they've already hired to make changes. Meanwhile, their inboxes fill to the brim. And yes, your very own perfect pitch is somewhere in that mega-pile of queries. So? You're probably going to have to wait weeks, or even months - before you hear back. That's just how pitching editors for freelance writing work goes.
Here's What To Do in the Meantime
Keep pitching! Not to the same editors over and over, of course, but to new and different markets. Make it your goal to pitch at least one new publication every work day, and take your time with it! If you rush the process, you risk wasting your time. Submitting to a teen magazine? Make your pitch using the tone you'd use in the article! Ditto for tech magazines or financial newspaper departments.
Keep track of every query that you send, so that a month or so down the road you can politely remind the editor about it. A simple nudge is perfectly acceptable etiquette so long as you've waited a few weeks with editors you don't personally know.
Here's the Secret to Enticing Editors
Don't just send a letter "about" your proposed article - send a condensed, interesting version of the article you are trying to sell! Jump right in:
Make that first line enticing, and then go ahead and include your entire introductory paragraph from the article itself (even if it is just in the planning stages.) After the intro, include several paragraphs that each outline a specific point that you want to make in the article. Use references and vital information, just the way you would with the full article.
Here's what that might look like in terms of the first example:
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Include a paragraph for every key point in the article. Once you've finished, include a short paragraph about yourself and your experience with the subject and writing. Include a link to your portfolio, and never include attachments unless specified by the submission guidelines. Close by thanking the editor for his or her time.
Keep trying! Once you've established a working relationship with an editor, pitching will become oh-so-much easier. Remember that professionals may send dozens of queries per week to find work, so if that's where you want to be, guess what? You've got to do it too.
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