Introducing Pitches That Worked: Spring 2019 edition

  • Posted on
  • in

Earlier this year I worked on a story about the company Basecamp--one of their tenets is "Sell your by-product." That gave me the idea to bundle up and sell a resource I realize I had in my back pocket: dozens of freelance pitches I had successfully sold to magazine, newspaper and website editors.

Writing pitches, let alone doing them well, is a daunting task for most freelance writers. A few years ago in my career I reached a stage where I gained confidence in my pitch-writing, and that confidence was backed up by paying assignments, some in publications I never dreamed I'd be legit enough to publish in.

There is no shortage of advice for freelancers on how to write, format, and send a pitch, but in my experience advice in a vacuum can only get you so far. What is helpful are examples of what has actually worked, breaking down the mystery of the hypothetical.

In this packet (below) you'll find a baker's dozen successful story pitches along with annotations about what the individual elements of each pitch accomplished. None of them are flawless--in fact, I tried to point out the flaws, to demonstrate what really matters in a strong pitch. It's not an absence of typos or sending it at exactly the right time of day: it's a solid idea, marketed strongly, wrapped in a promise of good writing and solid reporting.

What you will get with your purchase, which breaks down to a really affordable $1 per example, are pitches that landed me (and my colleague Kelly K. James, who shared some selling pitches of her own) assignments in The New York Times, Atlantic, Folks, Runner's World, the Costco Connection, Next Avenue, Vulture by New York Magazine, Your Teen, Real Simple, and Wine Enthusiast, with links to the stories so you can see the finished product. (Note: editorial contacts are not included, but advice on how to find editorial contacts is.)

Please check it out and tell your freelance colleagues, aspiring writer friends, journalism students, and anyone else who might be interested. If there seems to be a demand I will release additional installments.