Thursday, August 27, 2009

Unsolicited Articles = Fail

I get a lot of pitches, resumes and requests for more information. As I mentioned yesterday it is pretty jarring to get pitches full of emoticons, even if I’ve had a previous work relationship woth the person. Roughly once a week an unsolicited article arrives in my inbox with permission from the writer to use the article as I see fit. This causes problems for a number of reasons.

First. If you are a writer trying to make a living from the journalism profession why are you sending complete articles to a publication unsolicited. That’s selling yourself short. Basically, saying well no one will pay me to write so I’ll just send along my work for free and hope someone is so desperate for content they will post it. This probably does happen, but hold yourself in higher esteem and don’t offer your content for free without first testing the waters.

Second. As an editor, I have no idea who you are, where you found this information, what your background is. As a responsible editor I am not going to take an article that showed up and post it to my site. There are standards that I uphold; standards that are even more stringent for those I do not know.

Third. A lot of publications will not print something word for word that has been printed in another publication. If you are sending this article to more than one publication there can be serious repercussions to that. What if two of the publications decided to print the article and then the editor sees the article reprinted elsewhere and decides not to do business with you again.

Keep pitching, you can even pre-write articles and mention in the pitch that you have an article nearly ready to go on the topic. But don’t send the whole thing to an editor without testing the waters first.

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