The Creative Art of Pitching Stories | Alana Massey | Skillshare

The Creative Art of Pitching Stories

Alana Massey, Columnist, Author, Feelings Expert

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7 Lessons (43m)
    • 1. Introducing Alana Massey

      2:14
    • 2. Creating a Pitching Plan

      1:56
    • 3. The Writer You Are

      7:02
    • 4. Finding the Right Editors

      7:50
    • 5. Tailoring Your Pitches

      12:53
    • 6. Editing A Pitch in Real Time

      7:25
    • 7. Recognizing Success As A Writer

      3:19

About This Class

This course explores how to approach pitching stories to editors from a creative perspective in order to maximize the number of pitches writers places with publications. Students will examine how the roles of the writer, the editor, and the content of the pitches themselves come together in the most confident, and well-targeted pitches.

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Transcripts

1. Introducing Alana Massey: Hi, my name is Alana Massey, and I am a journalist and author based in Brooklyn, New York. As the writer, I have covered a really diverse range of issues from the personal relating to relationships, body image issues, mental health, and even the books I read, to more reported work around labor conditions in certain industries, the state of the pharmaceutical industry and certain drugs in it. Technologies that we are being introduced to in the digital world and in the world outside of our digital realms. Those have really appeared in a diverse range of publications, from the weekly column I write in New York Magazine's, "The Cut," to places like Vice, NPR, The Washington Post, and a lot of digital media publications that are more a niche interest. Before I was writing for digital media publications, I was writing pretty much anywhere I could. So blogs that were about interior design, about real estate, about freelance writing itself. I just really cared about getting my voice out there in whatever way I could. This course is for writers who are in the beginning or early stages of their career. Maybe they don't have any bylines at a publication. Maybe they just have a blog, but really want to translate that into a career of publishing and need to know the tools for getting their work out there. I wanted to teach this course because I feel like I encounter so many writers who are incredibly talented, who have so much to say and so much to share, but they don't know how to get their work out there. They don't know how to pitch, they don't know where to pitch, they don't know whom to pitch to and they're not necessarily looking at pitching from a creative perspective. They're looking at it from mostly an entrepreneurial perspective. This class is going to talk about four main elements, which are the writer, his or herself, the story they want to write, the editor that they need to connect to, to get that story written and edited and the publication where that story will live and find an audience. I'm really excited to walk everyone through this class who does want to get their work out there, who does want to get published. If that's you, let's get started. 2. Creating a Pitching Plan: The assignment for this course is to create the ultimate pitching plan. I want you to think of that as a living document in your writing career. You're going to write it while taking in the class, but I want you to add to it, to build on it, to make it progress throughout your writing career. The first part of that is going to be the writer; it's defining who the writer is, who you are, what you write about, what you're an expert in. We're going to talk a lot about how you can figure out what you're an expert in. The second part of that is, who wants the stories that you are going to be writing; who is the editor that wants to amplify your voice, that wants to refine your story, that wants to bring your words to a broader audience and how to connect to those people and who those people are. In the third section is the pitches themselves; the stories that you want to be telling are in the pitches. Pitches are not just e-mails, they're not just queries, they are a bridged versions of the articles essays, lists, satire, whatever it is you want to write, the pitch needs to show how you're going to write it and how well you're going to write it and is really a preview of the story itself, so it needs to be well done and it needs to be done in a way that approaches the editor appropriately. After that, we're going to talk about what success in that realm looks like, what success for pitching looks like. It doesn't always look like a 100 percent publication rate, it doesn't always look like every editor getting back to you. Demystify the writer biography because a lot of aspiring writers really see the accomplishments of writers they admire in their bios and their book jackets and it's overwhelming, it looks like you'll never get there and I want to talk about how you as a writer can get there, how you can imagine yourself in that position. 3. The Writer You Are: This section of the class is discussing the writer bio and the writer you want to be, which is a really intimidating part of getting started because writers seems so accomplished on the page when you read about them. But I want to talk a little bit about how you can creatively re-imagine your own biography as something much more elevated than you might think it is. I started this class by saying my name is Ilona Massey and I am a journalist and author. I could have started this class and said, my name is Ilona Massey and for the first six years of my career, I repeatedly failed to get PR jobs, lost a lot of them worked in nightclubs, barely scraped by. Then eventually became an author and writer and still often struggles to write every day. But I didn't say that part, I was putting my best writerly self forward and sometimes that takes a lot of imagination. I want to use the following example to illustrate how differently you can hear about someone in the same way. So there's two sentences for you. The first is, I am a law school dropout from Alabama, working in customer service for an airline. It's a first one. The second one is, I'm a recent New York transplant actively looking to turn an interest in American literature into an exciting writing career. That's the second one. Those are about the same person. They describe the same moment in time in the life of authored Harper Lee. One sounds more ambitious, but they're the same person. Look at your own set of experiences of expertise and the person you want to be as a writer and imagine that person kind of write fanfiction about yourself is a fun way to look at that writerly bio. The next part of that is excavating a mining for what you are an expert in. It's a lot more than you realize. People are frightened to pitch for three primary reasons. They mostly come down to three major fears. The first being that you don't have any publications or by lines at media organizations or magazines. The second is that you're not enough of an expert and the thing you want to write about. The third is that no one's actually reading it. For the first one, all I can say as no one came out of the womb with by lines, everyone has to start somewhere and you can start somewhere two. On the second area, which is the area of expertise, you are an expert in a lot more than you think you are, which I want to talk about now. Let's say, for example, you don't have a college degree and you feel like that's going to stop you. The things that you think might disqualify you to be a writer or actually potentially qualifying things. If you don't have a college education, you've navigated the world without one, and the world really expects you to have had one to do a lot of jobs, to get a lot of positions to progress, in a lot of ways. You have a unique perspective there. Say you live in a small town and think you, need to live in New York City to be a writer. The truth is being from a small town and having that experience of being an outsider from the media world gives you a different perspective that editors are looking for. If you are married, If you are unmarried, you have different perspectives on both. If you have children, If you don't have children, If you live with your biological family, If you live with the chosen family or an adoptive family, If you worked at a food service job, you know about labor in a way that most of the people writing about labor down. If you worked at a startup as a customer service representative, you know a lot more than a startup CEO founder. The point of all of this is you can cultivate an identity around the things that you think disqualify you that actually make you have something really special. You can really build a world for an audience and demonstrate to an editor that your values are different from the ones that have been on display in writing, and that your viewpoint is something really worth taking a look at. Imagining yourself as an asset rather than as someone who's just aspiring to be an asset, is really at the core of your writer bio. The first part of the assignment is going to be to write your bio as you would love to see it seen when you have done all of the amazing things that you want to have done as a writer. What I want you to do is go to Wikipedia and look for a few of your favorite non-fiction writers. They probably have really long bios, but I just want you to look at that first section on Wikipedia that has a very brief bio of who this writer is and what they've done. Think about the way it's written for a while. Think about the way these people are remembered, the way they're known in the community, in the way they're known by readers. Think about how you want to be known as a writer. Think about the things you want to be an expert and the things you want to have written about the words you want to have want and books you've wanted to have written. It doesn't have to be that specific, but you'll take a look at it and get an idea of what that bio might look like. This is really about looking into the future and imagining the writer that you want people to know you as. Two examples of that, that I looked up word Joan Didion and Zadie Smith. If you take a look at Joan Didion section of Wikipedia right there at the top. It has that she's an American author, best known for her novels and literary journalism. Her novels and essays explore the disintegration of American morals and cultural chaos where the overriding theme is individual and social fragmentation. A sense of anxiety or dread permeates much of her work. In that particular section, it really is about this themes that she has explored as a writer and as a journalist and as a novelist. It's much broader in terms of her particular legacy as it relates to the themes. Where as If you look at someone Zadie Smith's brief bio says Zadie Smith is an English novelist, essayist, and short story writer. Smith was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2002. As of 2012, she had published four novels, all of which have received substantial critical praise. Once you've taken a look at a few of your favorite non-fiction writers, brief bios at the top of Wikipedia. I want you to picture yourself 30 to 40 years from now as someone who has written the things they want to write, who has published in the places they want to have published. Write three to five sentences about yourself that would go in that top section of your Wikipedia page. However, it is that you would like to be remembered or thought of as a writer is what I want you to right now. You don't actually have to end up sending this with a pitch, but imagining yourself in that position of someone who's written what they want to is really going to be helpful. Imagining the writer that you wanted to become an where you start off to get there. 4. Finding the Right Editors: Hopefully now you've written a bio of the writer that you aspire to be, the one that you want to become, the one who has written about all the great things that you're already thinking about. The next step is connecting you to the editors who want to read that writing. Even more than demystifying the role of the writer is demystifying the role of the editor. A lot of people put editors on this exceptionally high pedestal that they don't necessarily belong on. Editing is a job that a lot of people do. Some are really great at it, some aren't as great at it, some are very polite, some are less polite, but none of them are going to be bothered by your pitch if you do it right. There's so many people who don't want to approach editors because they feel like they're bothering them. The thing I wanted to get across is that it is an editors job to be reading their pitches. They want to hear from new people. They just want to hear from the right people who are introducing themselves in a creative way, who are introducing their story in a creative way and in a way that demonstrates that they've read what these people edit, that they know what job the editor is actually doing. I want people to think about editors as they might a fictional character, because they are in your mind. As of right now, you don't know them. But think about in high school when you had to do a character analysis. What makes this person tick? What do they care about? What do they want to learn about? The first step is actually finding these editors. It is alarming how many people don't realize how to do this. The first place that you can find an editor's name is on the website that you want to write for. Say for example, you want to write for askmen.com, it's a men's lifestyle publication. You would go to askmen.com and you'd look around a little bit and I would click here on this menu where you can see that one of your options is contact us. You're going to go to that page and scroll down through this management team which tells you who works there, what their bios look like, and low and behold, you will find the askmen editorial team and all of their e-mail addresses. Now, my suggestion is to also look up these editors on places like Twitter and Google to see what they're looking for, to see what they've written about before, to see what they're editing in those sections and then shoot them an e-mail with your pitch. Before sending an e-mail, you're going to want to research this editor. You're going to research this section that they write for, you're going to research the stories that they have edited, you're going to look at their Twitter page to see what they tweet about. Do they only tweet about the things that they edit? Do they tweet about their other passions? Do they tweet things that maybe they wrote themselves? Because a lot of editors are writers as well. You're going to want to get to know these folks as well as you can before you pitch them. An example of a much more thorough masthead is at the Atlantic. You're going to go to the Atlantic.com and scroll all the way to the bottom, which can take a bit, but is a little bit different than the one in askmen because it actually says masthead. You click on that instead of contact us and you will find a massive list of editors and contributors and directors. What you're going to want to look for is the editor of the section you want to be in. The other place to find editors is through Twitter. I can't emphasize enough how much you need to be on Twitter following editors, looking at what editors are tweeting in order to understand how to pitch them most creatively, how to craft something that they're really going to want to read. Say you found something on a masthead, but their e-mail addresses aren't listed. Put their name into Twitter or Google their name plus Twitter and it'll usually come right up. You can look at what they're talking about. You can look at if they're soliciting pitches right now. Some of them have it right there in their Twitter bio that they are looking for pitches. But it really is important that you go there to see the way they interact with people. Because you are going to be interacting with them as a creative professional. This is the start of a dialogue that demonstrates that you are a writer who has the skills and the voice and the narrative that you're going to want to write in for their publications. Head over to Twitter and dig into the editors that you really want to write for. When you have looked up the editors that you want to be writing for at the publications you think are going to be the most solid places for the stories that you want to write, I want you to figure out with a bit of sleuthing their e-mail addresses by looking at those mastheads, looking through Twitter, looking at their personal websites and really digging around to find five editors that you would like to pitch and put them below that bio that you've already created about yourself and the writer that you want to become. When you are looking for mastheads and trying to figure out what editors are looking for, it's very possible that they'll have a specific page dedicated to what it is that they do want. Take for example, Pacific Standard magazine, go to psmag.com and scroll to the bottom, you can see that there is an about section and a context section, but there's also a write section. When you click on it, you'll see that you are essentially invited to write for them and as you scroll through, you can see that they are currently in search of all different stories from online, to feature stories, to particular elements of the magazine like prospectors or over the five studies section and essays. If you investigate those, you can much more easily target the editor you want to write for and know that they're actually looking for that material. Make sure that you do a thorough read all the way through those. Some people see that page and they immediately scroll to the bottom looking for the e-mail. In other cases, the publication hopes for you to do the work of figuring out what to write yourself and that's okay. That is the work that you can be doing. A place like the LA Review of Books Avidly channel has a very short description of the fact that they welcome pitches and submissions, that they are mostly under 1,000 words and if you're interested in writing for them, go through the archives to see the work they write. They want you to do the work yourself. Most publications will want you to do the work yourself and then use their particular guidelines to follow it. It really is a matter of simply following instructions and doing so in a way that's creative because even within those guidelines, you can get really creative, but you don't want to waste an editor's time with something that they'd be they already published, would never publish or just isn't the right tone and style for them. Figure out what it is there and figure out if you're the right person to write for them. Always read to the bottom because that's where the fine print is and that's where you're really going to impress someone with having. Make sure that you took the time so that they wouldn't waste time. Once you have the editors that you want to be pitching, you are going to be able to start writing your pitches. This next section is going to be a demonstration of several pitches that have worked, why they've worked and the format they came in and why they were in that format. We're going to really be digging into some of the things that I've written as pitches that have gone on to live in the world as publications. 5. Tailoring Your Pitches: So now we are going to get to the fairly interesting part, which is actual pitches. Some of these are super embarrassing because they come from very early in my career. But I want to show them to you because they demonstrate that you can get published without having published before, and they demonstrate a variety of different ways that I have pitched successfully, and that other people can too. They also show the way that this bio that you have, that we've created can play out in your actual pitches. So I want to go back, I know I've said this before, but I keep wanting to go back to the idea of this as a creative endeavor, as something that requires a narrative, that requires the story, that requires a thesis, that requires a crystallized, concise, beautiful story at the center of it, and that is really what is going to catch the eye of your editor. What I have in front of me are a collection of pitches that I have written, that were accepted at publications and then published online and in some cases in magazines. A lot of these come from the beginning of my career. So they're not necessarily how I might write a pitch today, but they do demonstrate that you can get published without having a ton of bylines, if you're demonstrating expertise, and really proving the potential value have by letting the storyteller in you come out in the pitch itself. So what I tell everyone is, the pitch is a creative endeavor unto itself, in the sense that every single pitch has a different narrative voice, and a lot of people hear that and think I'm telling them to do something fake, to have a put on voice, to have a put on authority, and that's really not what it is. What I like to imagine it as is there is a writerly self in all of us. We think of the writer inside of us, but really there are writers inside of us, and if we're going to be versatile and we're going to be flexible, we are going to have to write in different voices. We're going to have to adjust our tone and the way we talk about particular topics, two-fifths the audience that we're trying to reach, in this case editors. So imagine going to a job interview. You put on different clothes than you might normally wear on an everyday basis. You might use more business jargon than usual. You might be a little more formal than you normally would. You don't necessarily just actual like yourself, but you're not acting like yourself. You're just acting like yourself the way you would, who wants a job, your professional self. The areas that I'm going to cover with these pitches cover both informal and formal pitching and when it's appropriate to do one or the other, and short and long pitches and why you should write one as opposed to the other. So before we get into the actual pitches, I want to talk about the elements that every pitch should have and the elements that every pitch should not have, that you need to get rid of today. So the things that your pitch needs to have, not necessarily in this order is what the story is about, what the story does that is special, that's different from other stories that are maybe about the same topic. Why it is a fit for this publication and this editor? Why you are the perfect person to actually be writing this story. What you need to remove from your pitch right now, which we'll get into is disqualifying yourself saying things like, I think I could write it because maybe I could potentially. All of these things disqualify you before you have even gotten to your pitch. Don't call yourself an aspiring writer. Say I'm a writer. Don't say maybe there's a story here. Say I believe there's a story here, or just say there is a story here even more confidently. You should be making this pitch in a way that says there's absolutely something here. I am definitely the person to write about. Something to also take out of your pitch if you're on the other side of the confidence spectrum, is over promising what this is going to do, by introducing yourself as the foremost scholar in this particular area and saying you're going to write the seminal article on it is both promising too much and also if this person is say, a science editor and you're calling yourself the foremost scholar and something. If you are, they probably already know that you are and the chances are that you're not because there's only one foremost scholar in anything and like it's okay that it's not us. Saying it's going to be earth shattering and change the landscape is not necessarily the direction you want to go and I've definitely heard from editors who hear those, really just start with the idea that you are a writer who has a story and that you are the right person to write the story, and after that, you can get into the actual pitch, which we're going to get into now, with the first pitch that I ever wrote for the website XOJane and March of 2013. This was titled pitch in ya'll, because I actually knew the assistant editor who suggested that I write for them because she had seen the blog that I had before I was publishing professionally. I write it as if I'm speaking. I say things like so I don't have orgasms never have, not by myself, not with men, not with women. It's a really informal tone because both I know this person and I was planning to write something that was fun and funny. I showed them what they could expect to see because I was planning to write something that was flip it that was conversational and then I did. The next one I want to show you is pitch that was much longer and much more formal, which I sent to the Vertical Motherboard Advice, which is the science and technology vertical of that site. The reason that I was formal was that I had never written for this particular site before. I was sending it to the editor email address not to a particular individual. I didn't know who was on the other end of it. So I skewed in the direction of formality. It was also about a pharmaceutical and a eating disorder that was recently introduced to the DSM, the Diagnostic Statistical Manual and the controversy around this particular pharmaceutical drug. When you're talking about pharmaceuticals and eating disorders, you don't say flip and things, you don't make silly jokes. You also need to frontload with information, and so I have things like the D key diagnostic features of the particular eating disorder that I wanted to write about. I gave some background on the populations that were affected and why this particular drug was controversial, and also mentioned who I would potentially talk to you. At this point there are also additional resources in the pitch that demonstrate where more information can be found, that demonstrates I'm not just making this up, there is something here to be said about the topic that I'm pitching about. That landed on the Motherboard Vertical Advice outlet article cold and sentiment of the year, and really introduced me to more science and technology reading that I'm really proud to have done. So putting yourself out there in a way that's formal, that proves that you're serious about it is a way of getting yourself into other topics, even if you're not an expert in them. This next pitch, I sent to the beheld blog, which is a beauty blog that is syndicated to the literary magazine, The New Inquiry. I had read it before and it is really a smart intellectual take on the way we report video in style, and I was really understood and writing about beauty in the Soviet Union. So what we had in this pitch was a very solid paragraphs about what I knew about it and what I could potentially write about it, followed by a bio about what I had been studying and what my interests were professionally and personally, and I made a quick joke that most of her non-academic rating has been in a self cats fashion dating space, but new directions are currently under consideration. This pitch was one of my early forays outside of the women's writing space about fashion, and dating, and style, and beauty into writing about religion, which I had studied in Grad school but had not written about since I was in Academia. You can see that I wrote that it was urgent because I was responding to an article I had seen in the Atlantic, and this was sent to a general submissions email. Again, I didn't know who I was writing to. I made it fairly formal, but made it clear that I knew what I was talking about and spoke with the confidence that I didn't think would be off putting to any senior level editor or an entry level editor, and I explained what would be different about my article than the Atlantic article. Is very different than any of the other ones that you have seen in these pitches because I was playing out, my, having graduated from Yale Divinity School, concentrating on development studies, at though Jackson's Hutu Global Affairs I write primarily in the women's lifestyle space right now, but interested in returning to reading and religion development and aid as what I studied and worked on in various non-profit positions. That it was all true, I wanted to write about religion. I also wanted to keep writing about women's lifestyle stuff, I also wanted to write about science, I also wanted to write about the future, I also want to write about books, but you don't have to put that in every bio you write about. You don't have to say all of that. You need to shape show who you are, who this person is, this very particular religion writer in this case. We getting accepted by the website Religion Dispatches, which is a secular website covering religious News, and I was able to turn it around the following day as promised, and it came out as an article title, want to know how 84 percent of the world sees itself, study theology and that was an entry way into actually writing for religion dispatches on a regular basis. The funny story about that is, I wrote for religion dispatches and this very formal way, and then the editor that I was working with there said "this might sound weird, but I read your XOJane stuff and I read that sentence and was immediately horrified and embarrassed because I was writing about Katz's X and XOJane and I wanted to write about theology there, and never the twain shall meet." But he said, you know, we are looking for a blogger who has a particular voice, and could you write for religion dispatches the way you write for XOJane? I didn't know if I could, but said I could give it a try and it made me a religion blogger, and being a religion blogger in America means you are also in culture blogger, you are also in news blogger, or you were also a politics blogger because it plays a role in so many of these different ecosystems and areas of influence and that was really the way that I was able to transition into writing about more serious topics an editor asked me to do that. That was an incredible stroke of good luck that someone who was willing to take that chance. More often than not, you're going to be the one who has to take that chance on yourself. Who's going to have to say, you know what? I studied physics, but I really love literature. I understand literature. I should write book reviews, I should write essays about books. So we've just taken a look at a couple of the pitches that I submitted early in my career, and now it's time for us to take a look at yours. Taking the combination has shown this writer bio to which you're aspiring, the expertise that you know you have a new now hopefully and the places that you want to write it for, I want you to write a handful of pitches, or maybe you just one pitch if you do want to write something that's longer and reported. Write anything between one longer pitch and three shorter pitches and upload it to the site. Once we got to look at those, we can collaborate on how to make them better, how to make your bio even stronger, how to amplify your expertise, how to amplify your enthusiasm and prove that you're really the writer to be writing these. Start putting those together, dig into all of the areas that interest you and I'd love to see what you plan to write, and hopefully it won't be as silly as some of the things I wrote early on in my career. But if that's okay, it's all about the process. So get back to the process. 6. Editing A Pitch in Real Time: So now that we've taken a look at some of the pitches I did send, I want to go through the process as making a mediocre pitch, a strong pitch. So what I've done is write up a pitch that looks a lot like some of the things that I have seen from writers that just don't fully get at what their story is about, why their story is special, why they're the one to write it, and why this is the publication for them. So let's take a look at this particular pitch. As you can see here, we have a very short pitch in which I propose writing about the film Breaking the Waves. It starts Dear Sir or Madam, which as you know, we can very easily change to just a simple hello. If you don't know the name of the editor, if you do know the name of the editor, you can add their name. In this case, Haley, who is the editor at the publication, I'd like to put this in. My name is Alana Massey, that is made evident by your subject line and from space, where you can really start with is, I'm a writer and I would potentially like, no, I would like to write a story about the film Breaking the Waves for your publication. You shouldn't say your publication, you can't say the publications name in this case, Hazlitt. The next sentence says, the 20-years anniversary of the film's release is coming up, and I think there are a lot of themes worth revisiting and a critical essay about the film. This is a very inactive sentence, and it doesn't say what those themes are. It also has that critical unimportant word, I think. That's phrase I think, needs to be taken out of there. There are a lot of themes worth revisiting and a critical essay about the film. I'm going to scrap this whole sentence and say, the 20th anniversary of the film's release is upcoming, and it is worth revisiting the themes, female hysteria and obsession at the core of this film, and in the broader catalog of director Lars Von Trier's films. This section now becomes much more active. This next sentence, it is one of my favorite films, and I have seen it several times, and I know a lot about the director's work, so it could include elements of that too. I don't need to say any of that, if you can write about it well, it doesn't need to be your favorite thing, you don't need to communicate enthusiasm that way. This next sentence, I haven't written about film since I was in college, but really enjoyed it when I did, and feel this essay would be a great fit, it's just a lot of irrelevant information. You can communicate enthusiasm and qualification in that sentence in a way that is still going to fit. So I don't start that, I haven't written about film. I have written about film in an academic setting, and look forward to an opportunity to write about it in a media publication where the broad themes of feminism and male expectations as explored in the film have recently taken center stage in our national conversations. So I really liked a movie and I used to like talking about movies too, I've written about movies in a setting that I am very excited about translating because I understand the cultural climate in which I'm writing about this film. So that sentence becomes much more active, much more qualifying and less about how much you want to do it and how much you're qualified to do it instead. Finally, it said originally would be a great fit, a great fit for what? Well, in this case, I would be pitching this story to Hazlitt, a literary magazine that covers film, books and culture and are in really exciting ways. So a bit of a note about why Hazlitt would be a great fit for it would say something like, I am confident that this piece would find a home Hazlitt, among its critical essays that blend the experiential with the analytical, and go deeper into our cultural creations, then the average analysis at a major media site is able to. With that you have demonstrated that you know a little something about Hazlitt, you've given it a little compliment as it compares to its peers, and you're almost ready to go. This last sentence, I would be really grateful if you were to accept this story, so please let me know if you're interested. It is really great to be grateful, I don't want to knock that, but you are also wanting to let an editor know that you are going to add value. They are not doing you a favor by accepting your pitch, you're doing them a favor by giving them something they really want. So I would change this too, if you are interested in this piece, I'd love to hear your additional directions and feedback for where it might go, and how it might best fit the editorial direction of Hazlitt. I look forward to hearing from you and hope we can collaborate soon, that's Alana. By discussing the fact that they might be interested in this piece, but they might have additional directions, makes it clear that you are open to collaboration, is a way of being both hopeful but not being too presumptuous. It's enthusiasm without being over the top, and it's really going to change the way the editor looks at you when you are demonstrating these complex understandings of how the editorial process works, you've made it a slightly longer pitch, but it's going to be something there are a lot more grateful to see because it shows what you really want to demonstrate, what you really want to talk about, why you're the person to talk about it, and why it belongs to the audience. So next up, it'll just going to be some final thoughts and questions that you can be asking yourself as you get started on this process, and then you can be on your way. 7. Recognizing Success As A Writer: By now you have a writer bio to which you are constantly aspiring. It isn't going to be what you send alongside the pitch that you sent but it is going to inform the things you want to have written, the topics you want to have covered, the expertise you want to have demonstrated and maybe the prices you've wanted to have won. Get excited about it. Get a little aspirational. Hope for something that big. Once you have all of that, I want us to come together in one document, a document that grows, a document that lives, a documents that evolves. One thing I can't over emphasize enough is that when you are an early career writer with all of these pitches that you're developing and sending off into the world, the only measure of success is not that they were getting placed. Sometimes a measure of success is the fact that an editor responds and says, "thanks for sending this along, it's not for us please try us another time." Maybe success looks like hitting a certain milestone. Like you sent 10 pitches in two weeks, whatever your time allows for. Maybe it's a milestone like realizing that a pitch has become a story that you didn't realize it could become, by looking back at that writer bio and seeing how much closer you are to becoming that writer. By looking at the things that you've developed, the things that are in process, that are in creation, that you've developed by really examining your expertise and believing that you can become that writer, to be confident that your words deserve to live out the world, the publications that you believe that they should live on and to the audiences you want to speak to. What I want to see from everyone is the collection of all of these things that we've put together. The writer bio that you're aspiring to at the top, followed by the editors that you are planning to pitch to or would like to pitch to, along with the publications where they work. Then at the bottom, I want to see between one and three pitches. Maybe it's one really long one, maybe it's three shorter ones but I want to get an idea of the story that you want to write, the story that you want to send out into the world. Post that document up on the Project Gallery and I would love to take a look at what you're planning to write and provide feedback on where it's going, the potential that it has to live on these publications and you guys can all talk amongst yourselves about your progress. I'm really excited about being introduced to the writer that you're planning to become and the stories that I can't wait to see out in the world. Thank you so much for watching today and taking this class with me. I know that it's not as glamorous sometimes as the creative process of actually writing your stories but I really do believe that the art of pitching is that, it is an art form, it is a creative endeavor and you're really going to be a lot further along if you approach it that way. Thanks so much for coming on that journey with me and I can't wait to see what you have waiting for me on your creative processes towards getting published.