Wild Musing

Writing – Diary of a Budding Freelance

Pitching Your Article:Template for a Detailed Pitch

This is a follow up on the article pitching blog from last week. I  needed a bit of help with my first detailed pitch so I thought I would share my formula with new writers in the hope it helps them.I have changed the name of the magazine and the person involved but you can probably see it relates to my horrible interview blogs. Still the reason I was holding the interview was because the pitch succeeded and that is the main thing.

If you do decide on a long, detailed pitch as the way to go for putting forward your idea then it is important that it is still concise but informative at the same time. It is also important that you are familiar with the readership of the magazine and the style. Below is a example of the kind of structure such a pitch could take. It may also be an advantage to include a paragraph from the article.

Successful Woman Interview- Your Magazine

Synopsis

The focus of the article written from the interview will depend on which magazine I am writing for. For your magazine I would propose to concentrate on Ms Taylor as a successful woman who manages to juggle family and hugely busy career with aplomb. As well as her work with children and in the field of child psychology, she also wrote a successful TV which was very well received.

As your magazine is directed at women 25-45, many of whom will have children, I also propose to spend some time on her latest achievement The Internet Used Well- a book she has written on how to assist children to get the best from the internet and video games. I believe this area to be of huge concern to mothers and the report has some good, practical advice on how make sure your children are safe on the internet and how to help them get the best out of video games(it is not all bad news, if used wisely video games can be beneficial for children).

Structure (largely dependent on how much room I am given)

A 2000 word article on Ms Taylor”s life – home and work. Some focus on how she manages to ‘have it all’, kids, successful career and marriage. In this section I would include her reasons for refusing to do anymore of her popular parenting shows and her work with on the successful TV series.

500/1000 words on her book, the way information was gathered and a discussion of its findings and the implications for parents.

I also think a sidebar detailing the more important and relevant recommendations of the book in jargon free language would be of interest to your readers.

Possible Coverlines

Video games- it is not all bad news. Ms Taylor tells us how to keep our kids safe and have fun at the same time.

Your Magazine Reader’s Interest

Ms Taylor is an attractive, successful and intelligent woman firmly in the demographic of your magazine’s readers. She has a brilliant career, a long term marriage to a man who is successful in his own right and two lovely children. For these reasons alone I believe your magazine’s readers would find her story inspiring. Add that to the fact that she has a track record of giving parents sound, practical advice on child rearing and has written a very well received report on an area of concern for parents and I believe she is an ideal subject for your magazine.

December 27, 2008 Posted by | Getting published, Interviewing, Writing | Leave a comment

When An Interview Goes Horribly Wrong

I am not claiming to be an expert on interviewing ,if anything, the exact opposite. I held my first interview on Friday. It is for an article I am writing on a fairly prominent expert in her field and TV personality. It went horribly. The story I wanted to write on this lady had been pitched as a positive one. I have a lot of respect for the lady and her professional opinions. So what went wrong? 

First of all a blinding revelation: some people are going to see you as a sneaky little journalist out to do a hatchet job on them, even if nothing could be further from the truth. They have been burned by writers before and they don’t trust you. This may sound obvious but it really was not something I had considered. I get on well with people, I thought this would be no different.

Another thing that sounds obvious make sure your research is spot on and only ask questions on things you are on very solid ground with. I really thought I had done my research thoroughly, I had spent hours but I was dealing with a two hundred page report and some pretty complex ideas. It went wrong when I decided to throw in a question motivated by personal curiosity that I had not really looked into.

In hindsight I also think it may have been a mistake to send her the questions in advance, this seemed sensible at the time but probably contributed to the situation. The question she had a problem with was the last one I asked, if she had not had prior warning we may have established a rapport by the time we got to it and she would have seen it more in context or we may not have even got that far in the time alloted.

Things were amicable in the end. Once I had managed to explain that my question may have been naive but it was certainly not designed to trip her up, she became less hostile and explained to me that the issue we were discussing was surprisingly contentious and had even resulted in people accessing her ten year old son’s social networking site to insult her. She offered to help me with anything I was unsure of, motivated I am sure by the fact that she now thinks I am a complete idiot but still, better that than believing me to be a malicious complete idiot. Hopefully I can change her opinion as we work on the article.

December 22, 2008 Posted by | Getting published, Interviewing, Writing | , , , , | 2 Comments