Writers and ideas go together like peanut butter and jelly. (Feel free to substitute your favorite food pairing) One is never without the other. And while it’s easy to lose yourself in essays and articles (or stories), you don’t want to build up a giant folder of unpublished work. All of that genius needs to GO somewhere. So, ideally, before you invest your time, you submit a pitch to an editor. (“Hey, want to pay me to write this brilliance?”) But how are you supposed to gauge what an editor is looking for? (Please don’t assume that the world is dying to read your writing) Mostly, you keep an ear out for calls for pitches. But that can take as long as your writing. Unless you have a tool like Sonia’s Newsletter in your corner to tackle the work for you.
Calls for Pitches
Freelance writers write for a living (I’m assuming you already knew that). They also aren’t beholden to any one editor or client. It’s one of the nifty reasons we choose to work for ourselves. But not having a standard 9-5 position means a constant need to network and hunt for the next position.
And if you enjoy writing personal essays or reported stories, that means sending out pitches. (Rarely will you get the chance to submit a completed piece without negotiating that first dance)
But how are you supposed to know what and when editors are looking for something?
First, you read and get yourself familiar with the magazine or paper:
- What columns do they publish?
- Is there a particular style to the language used throughout the publication?
- Do the same authors appear in each edition, or do you see a rotation of freelancers?
- Are there monthly or seasonal themes?
You need all of these ideas BEFORE you decide to approach an editor and look incompetent. (“Because I want a byline” is not reason enough for someone to publish your work)
And then, you need to look for the submission guidelines. They’ll often outline exactly what kind of work they accept from freelancers, who to send your pitches to (and usually WHEN), and how to catch the editor’s attention. Or, at the least, how to get on the editor’s bad side. Read through those guidelines a few times to get as familiar with them as you are with the publication. (Hint: Bookmark it so you can come back)
Finally, research calls for pitches. These are notices on social media for specific types of stories that editors need to fill out an upcoming publication. They’ll tell you EXACTLY what they’re looking for, who to contact, and when the deadline is. And they’re a goldmine for freelance writers.
Assuming you can find them.
Sonia Weiser created the Opportunities of the Week (AKA Sonia’s Newsletter) to help other freelance writers find those elusive calls for pitches. Twice a week, she sends out a wrap-up of every job offer and pitch call she’s encountered, whether from Twitter, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the web. And each is complete with a point of contact, a rate, and a description.
It’s a freelancer’s DREAM!
Whether you’re looking for somewhere to pitch your latest reported piece, hoping for a new social media opportunity, or curious about what’s new in freelance marketing, she breaks everything down into sections for easy scanning. And your subscription delivers the newsletter to your inbox twice a week on Tuesdays on Thursdays.
(It’s a reasonable annual fee, too, considering she does all of the hunting and compiling FOR you, saving DAYS of searching through the Twitterverse)
And the best part? Sonia’s Newsletter counts toward those business expenses! (And she’s happy to deliver a receipt for you to use come tax time)
My Experience with Sonia’s Newsletter
I look forward to those Opportunity of the Week emails all the time.
Since I keep my database of pitches in a tab (with all of my other writing records), I know what story ideas I have at all times. So as I scan down the calls for pitches, I know exactly what might work and what won’t. Sometimes I see something and get inspired to write something new.
Voila! A pitch is born!
I’ve gained a new long-term freelance client courtesy of Sonia’s Newsletter.
And since I joined the Twitter exodus after Musk’s purchase (I don’t want my brand associated with racism or misinformation), I don’t have easy access to the search capabilities I did before. That means I doubly rely on Sonia to provide me with my calls for pitches. She’s my lifeline to what’s happening in the publishing industry. Something I think plenty of other writers can identify with.
You won’t regret the investment. (Believe me)
All you have to lose is the aggravation of being behind the writers who DO subscribe. And never knowing what’s out there.