Friday, 14 November 2008

#62 – Pitch topical stories to editors who respond quickly

Or how to stop your story dating.

Topical hook
So you’ve got a good story, but one that will date quickly... It’s juicy, topical, has a good hook and should be an easy sell. But the editor you have pitched it to isn’t responding. Grrrr.

Slow response
This is an all too familiar tale. I’ve lost out on numerous good story ideas in the past, simply because by the time the editor has got round to responding, the story is out of date. It’s intensely annoying.

Avoiding the gamble
And this is why it is only on very rare occasions that I’ll pitch such stories out to publications that I don’t already have a relationship with. Sure, these publications may pay well, and the story may provide a springboard to getting more regular work with the publication in question – but I’d sooner place the story and get paid slightly less than gamble.

Quick response
It gets to a certain stage where you get to know the foibles of your regular clients. I know which editors will usually respond quickly – often on the same day, and certainly within a couple of days. I also know the ones that will sit on a pitch for ages. And thus when I have a topical story that is great if run soon and useless otherwise, it will be the editors in the former category that get the pitch first.

Convenience versus money
These editors may not be the ones at the best-paying publications, but they are the ones that allow me to mobilise quickly, get the job done and secure the commission with a minimum of hassles. And sometimes that convenience is worth more than the money – it leaves more time to concentrate my resources and time on another story for someone else.

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