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How to get on an editor's roster

One of the hardest parts of freelance writing is that most of your pitches are unread, unresponded to, or rejected. Most of the time, you’re doing the hard work of finding an editor’s name, understanding their vertical, and coming up with a timely story. When you land a pitch, use that connection and write regularly for that editor and publication. Here’s how.

  • Make a good first impression: We like to work with people we like. Increase your chances of getting added to an editor’s roster by making an excellent first impression. This should go without saying, but submit your article on time. Your writing should be clean and clear. Be open to feedback. Be easy to work with. Answer edits in a timely fashion. Don’t argue over edits unless necessary.

  • Ask: Whenever I work with a new editor, I find out if they are open to pitches (not always the case), and if so, what types of pitches interest them. Find out how far in advance they are assigning so you aren’t bombarding their inbox with irrelevant information. It’s that simple. Some publications I work with have a rolling call for pitches, while others send a monthly email to let you know when it’s time to submit ideas.

  • Become a fan: Becoming a regular contributor means adding to the publication's ongoing conversation. Spend time reading past articles to prevent yourself from repitching old topics, inspire yourself, and understand the magazine better.

  • Be flexible: A tight turn-around is part of the game. While your piece might not immediately get published, expect to submit a draft within a week or two of having an idea assigned.

  • Develop a niche: Because I write about the same few topics (health, nutrition, food, food safety, mental health and food), I have a good general understanding of the science, the experts, the topics that have been discussed, the controversies, all of which help me write a thoughtful pitch. Your editor will have a deep understanding of their vertical, so you'll lose their interest if you’re pitching from a shallow understanding.

  • Keep at it: Rejection is part of the game. Keep going. You can do it!

What did I miss? Have a great week.

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