What I’ve learnt about the world of pitching thus far:
- Editors are not very good at responding to their emails
- Editors are, however, much more likely to respond to an email if the job is unpaid or virtually unpaid ($20 an article does not a sustainable journalism career make)*
- Editors do not seem to respond to flattery, even if you’ve personalised a reference a specific section in their last issue and spread compliments like condiments
- Just because an editor responds once with interest, does not mean they’ll ever respond again
- Just because I think an idea is ground-breakingly brilliant**, does not mean it warrants a reply, no matter how many times an hour I refresh my inbox or check my junk mail folder to ensure no offers of triple page spreads have slipped through to the keeper
- There’s no point posing as an established journalist since the invention of Google. All can be revealed in under 10 seconds. And usually is.
There is a small chance that my over-reliance on the electronic medium may have some small part to play in this editorial silence. Wrong addresses, wrong people to speak to in the first place & getting lost in the paper trail could all be plausible explanations. Truth be told, I haven’t actually chased up a single of the 60 pitches sent so far. May seem like a fairly obvious oversight, but one steeped in an acute fear of picking up the phone and sounding like I’m way out of my depth. You can’t have mental blanks over email. However, you also can’t expect much cut through, and so this week, I’m giving my fear the middle finger and am going to harass publication switchboards all over the country. Chasing up old pitches and throwing in some new ones, all squished into the 30 seconds before they hang up the phone. Very scary. But at least that’s not enough time for them to Google me before they decide….
*Amazingly speedy response from the punch this week after my pitch on offensive celebrity tweets, and ‘what the world knows about Australia from watching Neighbours’. But prefaced with the following disclaimer:
Thanks for your proposed ideas for a contribution, we’d love to read any of these once they are fully developed. If you want to get back to me with a completed piece, I can pass it onto the editors for review. Also, unfortunately we are not able to pay our contributors at the moment, so I thought I should let you know. Looking forward to hearing from you again soon.
**Tell me I’m not alone in thinking a piece for an HR trade mag, analysing Mad Men episodes through the lens of current Australian workplace sexual harassment legislation (in light of the DJs case) is utterly compelling reading. This is not just an excuse to watch all of Season 4 in one sitting. Honest.