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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Five-Step Method for Pitching--and Selling--Reslants

Earlier this week, I talked about reslanting story ideas to take advantage of the information that’s already in your head, in your story files, and on your hard drive, reducing the amount of time you spend researching the subject. But if you’re a one-idea=one-story writer, you may have to make an extra effort to come up with reslants the first few times you do it.

I suggest you brainstorm from the outset. Give it a try:

1. Write down your initial article idea.

2. Write down the angle you’re pitching (or writing for), the market(s), and the readers of those markets.

3. Now, think of what other approaches you could take to the subject—and who might be interested in your new pitches. Does the topic and angle appeal to parents? Alumni of a certain school? Frequent travelers? Business owners? Homeowners? Recreational athletes? Seniors? Make notes of your different spins for different audiences.

4. Research potential markets that reach those audiences. Again, think broadly—in addition to national consumer magazines, consider trade publications, regional/local markets, and online publications. Even if some of these markets don’t pay well, a reslant that takes little time to report and write may still well worth your time.

5. Write and send queries to the appropriate markets with your reslanted ideas.

That's it! If you get in the habit of doing this exercise whenever you come up with a new story idea, you may be surprised at how many different approaches you can take, even with a seemingly narrow topic. And if you don’t come up with other approaches at the outset, keep your mind open--your research may lead to additional ideas as you work on the original piece.