Monday, December 3, 2012

End of Year Pitches

December: The month when we all stop for a full week to hit holiday parties and exchange gifts and eat lots and lots of cookies .....

Or do we?

If you're trying to run a freelance writing business, this month is your prime opportunity to line up work for the coming year so that you're not scrambling month to month.

Don't know where to start? That's okay, I'm here to help. Here's what I do:

1) Make a list of all of your current clients. Check out their calendars for the coming year and for any themes that will be prevalent in each monthly issue. Contact them and find out if they will entertain a list of story ideas from you.

2) When you hear back from each client (who will always say, "Yes! Send us ideas!"), work on a list of 10-12 topics. This usually takes me about eight hours to research, but if I net just one or two assignments for specific months, I'm able to schedule that and know with certainty that it's money in the bank. It's not wasted time if it results in a $1,000-$2,000 assignment, is it?

3) After you've nailed work with current clients, now research new markets. Make sure your Web site is current (in this case, I'm revamping mine this year), and go through the same process that you did with the current clients. Look at each publication's editorial calendar. Send an email to each magazine asking if they'll accept pitches. When you hear back from each one, research topics based on the calendar and send 10-12 story ideas.

This may sound like it's time-consuming, but think of it this way: If you handle this during December every night for just one hour after you sign a few Christmas cards, you'll start seeing results.

Get the work on the calendar before the year begins.

As the snow begins falling, you'll watch the assignments snowball.

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