All in feature writing

The 5 things that can help get a pitch across the line

What kind of success rate should freelance writers be aiming for when pitching editors? I got asked this question recently and it's not easy to answer because it depends on if you're sending pitches to editors you have a relationship with and the quality of your query letters. But I think if freelance writers get 60% of their pitches accepted they'd be doing exceptionally well. There's lots of advice out there about how to pitch, but there are five particular things I have found that freelance writers can do to help secure a commission.  

3 easy ways to get an editor's attention (without being obnoxious)

You know those images in movies where someone wins the jackpot on a poker machine and it’s spitting coins out everywhere? That’s exactly how I think of an editor’s inbox. No matter what they do, the emails keep on coming, piling up on top of each other. So how can freelance writers get noticed amongst all the digital noise, get an editor’s attention and ensure our emails get opened?

What makes an editor say YES to a pitch?

There are lots of articles out there about how to pitch feature articles to magazine and newspaper editors, but recently I’ve been thinking about exactly what makes an editor say yes to a pitch. We all know that pitches usually need to include a timely, “newsy” angle or element, but recently I heard a podcast episode where an editor spoke about the two crucial elements in any publication. His advice made me sit up straight.

Interested in writing about social issues? Pitch to these publications.

There are numerous online magazines and publications looking for writers. But it can be hard to know where to pitch your ideas if you want to write about social justice, international development, human rights or humanitarian issues. There are numerous magazines and publications in this space who are looking for freelance writers - here are eight that are well worth considering.

How to find editors' contact details

You’ve got a great idea for an article for a magazine, newspaper or website. You want to pitch it, but you have no idea where to find the editor’s contact details. While there is no one way to locate every single email address or phone number for an editor, there are a number of tools and strategies you can use to find the right person to pitch to (and some may surprise you).

7 publications that pay well for personal essays

Despite some people saying that the personal essay boom is over, I'm seeing little evidence to suggest that readers' appetites for candid, revealing and thought-provoking first person pieces are sated. For freelance writers, the advantage of writing a personal essay is that you are drawing on your own experience, so there is very little need for external research or case studies. Many writers also say that writing down their own experience and sharing it with others feels validating, affirming and therapeutic. 

Anatomy of a feature article

In the survey I sent out a few weeks ago, lots of you mentioned that you’d like to see how one of my feature articles developed – from the initial idea and pitching the editor to interviewing case studies and experts, writing the article, submitting it and being published. In this post I take you through an example of a feature story and all the steps involved in getting the article published in one of Australia’s newspapers.

Where to find the best story ideas for articles

It’s the moment many freelance writers dread. An editor asks if you’ve got any ideas to pitch, a client wonders what you think would make a good subject for an article for their business blog or you want to break into a dream publication, but your ideas have dried up. So where do freelance journalists and writers get their great ideas from and how can you ensure you have an endless supply of unique stories that editors will find irresistible?

How to get started as a freelance writer

This is a bit different from my regular posts – each month I’m going to be doing a post for people new to freelance writing, but with a downloadable resource for everyone. I’ve had a bit of a rush of new subscribers and visitors to my site recently (hello and thank you!) and some of these lovely readers have been in touch and asked if I could go back to the very beginning.

How freelance writers can find fantastic interview sources

If you’ve got a great idea for a feature article for a magazine or newspaper, you need the talent to back it up. But for journalists or freelance writers, finding case studies or sources can be a tricky thing. You might need experts to translate complex ideas so that a general readership can understand recent research, or you may need to find someone with first person experience to speak eloquently about the topic you are exploring. But how do you find those people who are going to bring your story to life?

Get writing work without pitching: how to get editors to come to you with commissions

When I started out as a freelance writer it never occurred to me that editors might one day come to me with articles they wanted me to write. In the past, I’ve had the occasional editor ask me to write a specific article for them. But this year, I’ve had multiple editors come to me over and over again with commissions. In this post I share the five key factors that are crucial to getting editors to approach you with commissions.