For my second session, I went to “I want to write for magazines.” This workshop mainly discussed query/pitch letters and how to approach them. He talked about how nowadays, these are in the form of emails, which changes the basic rules just a little bit. He gave basic tips for writing query emails, which can be summarized as such:
- The length of the pitch is directly related to the length of the piece: approximately 15-20% of the length of the piece
- Study the magazine/online publication before sending your pitch
- Find out who edits the section (may take a little bit of investigative work): make sure you have their name correct
- NO TYPOS OR MISSPELLINGS
- Always query a human being: “Hi First Name Last Name“
- Need an engaging lede, a nut graff (what you are proposing)
- Always introduce yourself as a writer first, student second
- Describe the visual potential of the story: link to pictures of the place or person, etc.
- Subject lines should be very clear and explicit
- Informal tone, but error free
He finished by talking about how it may not be the first pitch that sells a story for a writer. Typically, it’s the second, third, or fourth pitches. Being shot down is not always the end of the road.