Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How to pitch a story

I recently picked up a copy of The Writer, a publication for, well, writers. Most of their website is reserved for subscribers, but there’s a good story about why magazines reject queries – a letter or email proposing a project.

You generally don’t want to submit a story to a magazine or newspaper -- you want to get an assignment. As young writers, this can be difficult; it’s not so easy for old-timers either. But, if you know how to write a query, it helps. A piece of advice in this list that I often hear is – get familiar with the magazine before you make your pitch. That way, you know what they are looking for and what they’ve recently published.

The basics of good query writing remain simple: Be direct and clear, not cute
and clever. Be interesting from the start, try to sink a hook in the editor, be
brief and make sure your copy is clean. Sell your idea with well-chosen words
and details, tell us a little about your writing background, then sign off after
four or five paragraphs.

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