Athens, Greece – December 15, 2013 Stack of magazines for women on a newsstand at Athens Omonoia Square, Numero L’oficiell Marie claire Vogue Elle As a journalist, writing coach and magazine editor, I have worked with hundreds of writers and editors.
Most recently, I have interviewed dozens of editors for the podcast for the American Society of Journalists and Authors that I host and curate, ASJA Direct: Inside Intel on Getting Published and Paid Well . The podcast is a free member’s benefit for ASJA members (and available for non-members for a fee).
Here are the top tips I’ve collected from editors over the years. Read the publication
Even buy a few issues if it is in print
Look at the voice and style of the publication and see where yours fits in
Include relevant links to clips
Following up after a few weeks is fine, but not after two days
Don’t send news stories to a literary magazine
Don’t DM asking for advice on pitching stories
Funny personal stories are ok and welcome
Pitch to the right editor
Write up a professional pitch—do your homework
Make sure your story hasn’t been done recently. If it has, what makes your take different? Make sure you are writing to the demographic (for Next Avenue —it is men and women over 50) Let the editor know if your proposed article is a personal essay, or a reported/hybrid essay piece Tell the key parts of your story in the pitch. Editors should have to guess what you are trying to say Let the editor know if your work is accepted somewhere else, even if you haven’t heard from them Share the research you want to do for the piece, including who you will interview for it Include any relevant personal experience (i.e. I’m a former investigative reporter…) Make sure you can support your premise (i.e. print magazines are dying) with the research and/or credible resources Have all your facts before pitching Create a narrative arc (It’s Narratively after all) so it needs a beginning, middle and end Write your story as if you were telling it to a close friend Include a powerful intro that takes us right into the story Think like a movie, with lots of sensory language and vivid details Something should have changed at the end Estelle Erasmus is a parenting educator, award-winning journalist, writing coach, and adjunct journalism instructor for New York University . She has been published in The New York Times , The Washington Post , Family Circle Magazine , Parents Magazine and more. She is an ongoing guest editor for Narratively , and hosts the podcast for the American Society of Journalists and Authors ASJA Direct. Follow her on Instagram @EstelleSErasmus . Go to her website ( estelleserasmus.com ) to sign up for her newsletter.