There are five stages to pitching a story idea to an editor:
- You get an article idea
- You write the idea up, in a query letter or letter of introduction.
- You send the pitch letter in, usually via email.
- You wait, frequently in vain, for a response.
- You begin the second-guessing game, and start wondering why your article pitch didn’t get you an assignment.
That fifth stage often sends writers into an emotional tailspin, and sucks up way too much time. But it shouldn’t. Really, it shouldn’t exist at all.
There are only two basic reasons why article ideas get rejected — and once you know them, it can help you move on to writing that next query more quickly.
Note: In this post from the past, you’ll learn about one easy method to come up with story ideas that never gets old. Enjoy! —Carol.
Are you short on story ideas to pitch magazine editors?
A lot of writers make it a lot harder than it needs to be to come up with story ideas to land an assignment.
You try and be ultra clever. You spend countless hours doing research looking for a nugget of information…and then another. Or you second guess every single one of the story ideas you come up with. Sound familiar?
Some story ideas deserve that kind of attention. But if you’re hustling to land more work and make more money, you need to pitch story ideas that sell.
And there’s one angle that few writers take the time to craft, but that often results in an easy sale.
What is this slam-dunk idea? Let me show you how it’s done:
Has your writing income dwindled in recent years? If so, it’s a good bet you’ve been earning much of your money through article writing.
You may have noticed many local newspapers and magazines are shrinking their article wordcounts–and their pay. I meet a lot of sad former staff journalists who’re worried about how they’ll earn in the future.
That’s not an irrational fear, either. A recent study I did of about 250 established freelance writers showed 70 percent of them were article writers. And that article writing was one of their best-paid gigs.
What did that pencil out to, in dollars, this great article-writing pay? Nearly half said they earn under $20,000 a year from writing. Another 20 percent earned $20,000-$30,000. In all, most of these article writers weren’t earning much.
Gah! This makes me hopping mad.
That’s because article writing can be seriously lucrative — it’s the bulk of the work I’ve done as a freelance writer, including years where I earned six figures. But you have to know where to look for better pay.
The Internet has made some things about building a freelance career as a writer a lot easier.
You can investigate what a magazine has recently written, for instance. Or find an editor on LinkedIn.
But in other ways, our Information Age has caused problems for writers.
I know because I keep hearing comments from new freelance writers like this:
“There’s so much to know and the world of freelance writing is rapidly changing. I feel so behind and don’t know how I’ll ever catch up. Can you help?”
Does that sound anything like the voice inside your head?
Wondering if can really jump in and build a freelance career as a writer, even though you don’t know everything right now?
I do have a tip on that.
Note: Ever wonder what the difference is between writing an article and writing a blog post? It’s a topic that comes up a lot. Besides style and research, you might be surprised by one of the key differences between blogs and articles. And it’s why I decided to share this post again. Enjoy! —Carol.
There’s a lot of confusion out there in the freelance-writing world today about blog posts and articles. Also, about what each of those types of writing should pay.
Recently, I got a lot of response to my call for freelance writers to stop writing blog posts. Many writers were confused about just what the difference is.
So let’s discuss. Because things are changing. And understanding the differences between these two writing forms will help you earn more.
For years, blog posts and nonfiction articles were distinctly different:
It’s rare that I meet a freelance writer who thinks their writing is good enough. It’s not just that you want to know how to improve your writing, either — you want to know how to do it in a hurry.
Ideally, quick enough to get you some better-paying freelance writing gigs, real soon.
It seems no one wants to become a strong writer the way I did it — namely, to file 3-4 stories each and every week, like I did for 12 years. Or to write 72 blog posts a month, like I did when I got back into freelance writing in 2005.
Everybody wants a shortcut. OK then! I think there are a few.
Here are my top seven ways to quickly improve your writing: