How to cold-contact editors of local (or national) publications?
January 8, 2013 6:35 PM Subscribe
Cold-contacting editors and publishers in Austin and elsewhere: I want to return to freelancing after several years away from the field. Problem is, my previous freelance jobs all came from lucky, completely random meetings with editors and networking based on that luck, in another city. Please help me strategize so I can make a good impression on editors I haven't met in person!
posted by xenophile to Work & Money (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm broke, so I need assignments ASAP. I'd rather not go the content mill route. I have a list of local magazines and newspapers I'm qualified to write for, and samples of each one. I have an online portfolio and blog, and I have joined a professional writers' meetup group to network and will meet with them for the first time next week.
My main question is how to make contact: Should I come up with a great pitch for each publication or should I contact the editors and ask them to assign me something? Or should I go the informational interview route recommended in the What Color is Your Parachute series? Or should I spring for an upgrade to LinkedIn and contact them there? Or find them on Meetup, Facebook, or some other way?
In my past experience, with editors I knew and wrote for often, they would ask me for particular stories more often than they would accept my pitches...maybe about a 60-40 split. However, I had established relationships with them. They knew my interests and skills, and they would think of me when they stumbled on things that were up my alley.
Recently, I had a rather disturbing experience with a local publication I was interested in. A writer friend of mine knows the editor, and was contacted to write for them. The friend suggested me to the editor, and was given the smackdown for it because they don't accept anything unsolicited. That was a networking opportunity gone awry. According to my friend, the editor was offended. I have never run across such a situation before and it makes me wary of doing the wrong thing.
I know MetaFilter is awesome with this sort of question...thanks, folks!