I want to write for magazines

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
  • 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.

-Sam Calvert


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