Keep your editor happy

Ten things not to say in your pitch…

If you’re hoping to write for a magazine, newspaper or website – or to gain interest from a literary agent or publisher for your book – what to write in a covering letter is always difficult. But here’s some things guaranteed to get your new relationship off on the wrong foot…! Keep your editor happy

You say: People tell me my book will be a bestseller
We say: The editor will be the judge of that.

You say: My book will be a movie
We say: But it isn’t even published yet…

You say: I will ring you next week to sort a date for lunch to discuss my proposition.
We say: This is a big turn-off. Wait until he or she asks you…

You say: I will pop in and meet you next week.
We say: Don’t come over as a stalker! As above, it is not for you to suggest this…

You say: My book is copyright to me.
We say: The true mark of an amateur writer (all work is automatically copyrighted to the author in the UK.)

You say: I am waiting for your reply
We say: Is this a threat? It sounds it and you’re likely to wait a long time…

You say: How much money will I get?
We say: Being obsessed about cash isn’t a good first impression.

You say: Any news? (when you only sent it a few days ago.)
We say: Editors hate to feel pressurised. Don’t give them an excuse like this to turn you away.

You say: I’ve already got other agents clamouring to speak with me.
We say: Why are you contacting us? We suggest you go with one of them then. TIP: Never lie and say someone else is interested when they’re not…!

You say: We can help one another (when you have 30 twitter followers and they have 30,000 etc)
We say: The fact is your well known, well connected editor doesn’t need any ‘help’ from you…

But writing a good covering letter is simple…

* Keep it simple.
* Keep it short.
* Be polite.
* Don’t hassle.
* Don’t make ridiculous big-headed claims about yourself.
* Don’t make yourself look an amateur by talking about copyright and money – all of that comes much, much later.
* Realise you are approaching them. If it is an unsolicited approach – and many pitches to editors are – they do not have to reply to you.

Read More:

Top mistakes people make when writing a pitch.

Have you got a formula that’s worked for you when pitching to write for a website, blog, publication or to a literary agent or publisher? Do let us know your tips below…

Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website Featureworld.co.uk, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

2 thoughts on “Ten things not to say in your pitch…

  1. Anyone with a ‘guaranteed’ winning formula for approaching agents will have achieved the literary equivalent of knowing the meaning of life, but if the answer’s out there then please can somebody let me know!

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