Freelance Blog + querying

Guest Post: Good Ideas Never Die

by Jen A. Miller

The idea, I thought, was perfect. Who wouldn't want this article? Not only was it unconventional but, I thought, humorous and timely as either a Valentine's Day or summer beach reads article, depending on how I pitched it. I even had the perfect person as an anchor interview.

I thought it was perfect. However, editors did not. I pitched the story to multiple outlets, working different, unique angles, but no one bit at the time -- not even regular clients.

So when a newspaper editor came to me a month ago asking what I had for Valentine's Day, I dusted off that pitch, updated the numbers and shipped it off. She accepted it immediately. Figuring I was on a roll, I re-spun and re-slanted the piece for a magazine that had rejected it the first time around. They, too, bought it immediately as a feature for three times as much as the newspaper article would pay.

Turned out the story was perfect after all -- just before its time.

How to apply this to your freelance career? Don't give up on good ideas because they will eventually find a home, whether it's an editor finding it or you finding a new spin on it. Also, keep track of everything you pitch, even if editors say no.

The reason I had the pitch so readily available is because of my record keeping system. As soon as the first editor asked for ideas, I found the original pitch date on a spreadsheet I keep of all pitches and who and when I sent them. That lead me to the actual pitch with notes and, five minutes later, it was in my editor's hands.

As icing on that Valentine's Day cupcake, I just sold a re-slant of the second freelance article I sold. It was a good idea in February 2004, and it's a good idea now!

Jen A. Miller, who just celebrated four years of full time freelancing, is author of The Jersey Shore: Atlantic City to Cape May and blogs about the region at Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Allure, Woman's Day and Men's Health.

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Guest Post: Good Ideas Never Die + querying