I once picked up this book at a thrift shop on freelance writing. You want to know something even funnier? The book is from the 1970s - and I bought it just a few years ago, in the thick of our ongoing social media and Internet frenzy. Still, this book has helped me as a freelance writer more than many other sources I've consulted. For one thing, it introduced me to the magazine pitch, a skill any successful freelance writer needs tucked under her belt.
Writers don't discuss pitches too often. Not sure if it's because we think we'll steal one another's ideas or simply laugh at the ideas for being no good. (Or both.) Recently, I've been (secretly) pitching a few magazines that are, for the moment anyway, a little out of my league. But it's because I've been coming up with ideas.
Here's the thing about pitching. Once you come up with a good idea and get an editor to listen, your foot is in the door. Ever notice how magazines publish plenty of repetitive stuff - from how to meet a man to five new ways to wear a white shirt to earth-friendly products to clean your household? But you can't address an editor and pitch the same old boring ideas about meeting men; you won't get his or her attention that way. You have to pitch something new and different. And if you come up with something fresh, the editor will take you seriously and know that you're capable of thinking new thoughts.
It seems weird that my 1970s pitch book helped me think new thoughts, but apparently I just needed a little guidance. You never know where ideas will come from.
Ironically, I just received a pitch from one of Mount Pleasant Magazine's contributors this evening - just now, as I'm writing this blog! I loved his suggestion and told him as much. At the end of the email I wrote, "Great pitch," followed by a smiley face.
It's gotta be good karma, right? Receive pitch and ye shall be received? Or something?