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Monday, September 6, 2010

The Idea in your Pocket

I'm delighted to report that this weekend I hit the three-figure mark with 100 followers on my blog. I'm planning something special this week to celebrate...stay tuned. In the meantime, my ghostwriting eclass launches today, so if you've signed up, look for your first lesson in an email from me later this morning.

Today's post is about timing--namely, the best time to pitch an editor you're written for before. Think about it for a moment before you keep reading.

Is it Monday morning? Friday afternoon? Right after lunch? The end of the day? The summer equinox? Valentine's Day?

Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, and unless she has the most amazing guy in the world, nope.

The best time to pitch? When she emails you to tell you she's accepting your piece, or that you did a great job, or that the story looks good and she'll let you know if she has any questions about it. She'll never be more favorably disposed toward you and your work than at the moment she's telling you you she's happy with the piece (even if you had to revise it). That's why you should always have what I call an idea in your pocket--a query that's ready to go when you receive an email accepting the story. Then you can reply to her email by saying, "Good to know! So glad you're happy with the piece. In the meantime, I have a story idea I think is perfect for you." Then include your new pitch.

That's not being pushy--it's maintaining your relationship with your client, proving that you're a one-person idea factory (you don't tell her you've had this idea in the wings for a while), and helping her do her job, which is to fill her magazine with relevant, interesting content for her readers. So have a fleshed-out query ready to go after you've turned in a story to an editor. There's no better time to pitch her than the moment she accepts your earlier piece.


  1. Congratulations! I'm waiting for the big "three" on my own blog (but it is new.)

    I agree with catching editors while you can. (Or corporate business, while I'm at it). When they're happy and you have their attention, hand them more ideas. They'll be pleased you've thought of them!

  2. That is a great piece of advice! It would not have occurred to me to keep an "idea in the wings."

    As a writer who is newer to magazine writing, I was doing the one idea/one market/move on technique, trying to build up credits in a variety of different publications. But going after the same market when they're already happy with my work makes so much sense. Thanks!

  3. JM and Holly, thanks for your comments, and Holly, let me know how this technique works out for you. :)

  4. I think this is a great rule, Kelly. I always make sure that I have at least two additional ideas ready when I submit a query. Even if they don't end up accepting the piece, I've generated more ideas to offer them (or another publication) next time. Congrats on your 100 followers!