Here's the situation for these problematic pitches:
- First, the writers tell me about how they got started writing.
- Then, they tell me nearly everything they've accomplished since that moment.
- Then, they tell me how they found this opportunity.
- Then, they tell me how my publication (Writer's Market and/or Poet's Market) has changed their life.
- Then, if I'm lucky, they finally pitch me an article idea.
Needless to say, even if these pitches are good, sometimes I have trouble locating or processing them after reading through paragraphs of "non-pitch" information. Plus, putting the important stuff last (or hiding it in the middle) reflects poor judgment on the writers--so I'm not impressed with their writing skillz.
Luckily, this problem is very easy to fix: Just lead with the pitch.
You can include all that other information if you need to get it off your chest, though it's not all completely necessary or appropriate, but do so after you've pitched your article idea. As an editor, that's what I care about the most, so it's the most important information in your pitch (or query) letter--even if you have won tons of awards and honors.
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Want to improve your pitching? Try these resources out:
- The Writer's Digest Guide to Query Letters, by Wendy Burt-Thomas
- How to Write a Great Query Letter, by Noah Lukeman
- Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript, by Chuck Sambuchino
- 2012 Writer's Market Deluxe Edition, edited by Robert Lee Brewer
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