Regular visitors to this phenomenally successful blog will no doubt have noticed a pattern: I keep drinking and smoking and lurching between one ridiculous incident and another and yet I never seem to have any success, nor do I ever really give any information about pitching, despite promises to the contrary and a blog title that suggests I really should.
Well, not today. This week has been a good one and the hours spent pitching a few weeks ago are starting to pay off. Yesterday I had two pieces commissioned and there are another couple that look as if they will be confirmed by the end of the week. And they are nice and diverse: one on naturism, another on Brazil, another on irregular sleep patterns and another one – actually this is boring. You people come here for slapsticky behaviour and spectacular muff-ups and that’s what you’re going to get.
So, in amongst my (boring) success this week, I received what was possibly the most damning reply to a pitch that I’ve ever received. This in itself was unusual. Normally when editors don’t like my ideas – which is often – they either don’t reply or reply with a brisk “not for us”. That this particular editor had taken the time to reply to my pitch in some detail was quite something.
I had pitched “Pilot Magazine” with a frankly shoddy feature idea. I know little about aviation and have no particular interest in it, but for the purposes of this experiment I have to pitch such titles. My idea was to write about the Royal Flying Doctors Service and how I had become interested in it after visiting the RFDS museum in Alice Springs, Australia. This is not true. It is true that I visited the RFDS museum in the summer, but I didn’t “become interested” and my wife laughed at me because I asked one of the staff if it was actually the doctors who flew the planes themselves. I was disappointed to find out that they didn’t.
The editor of Pilot Magazine started out saying that “a piece about that museum is a long shot and as a pro, you’d probably want paying” then went on to say that as a lot of their readers wouldn’t be able to go over there, then it wasn’t worth publishing and “as the piece would need to be photo led” and I didn’t have any photos, then that was a further reason why they wouldn’t want it. He also mentioned that he had read a lot about the RFDS over the years, suggesting that I perhaps wasn’t the right person to cover it. “Bottom line,” he ended “probably not worth pursuing”.
Still, good to get a reply. Plenty of my pitches don’t warrant one. Before I sign off, take the following pitch for a men’s magazine that I used to (and still do) occasionally write for. Everything about the pitch is wrong: the idea is awful, the information I give isn’t really true, it’s poorly written, I give up half way through and – the worst bit – I still sent it:
I read something the other day about how many football supporters are shunning the Premiership and supporting foreign clubs. Apparently you can nip over to Germany or Spain to watch a top match and – with plane tickets included – it costs less than going to a game in the Prem. Perhaps send a reporter (well, me) over to a game…look, even as I write these words I can tell that this one is never going to happen.
I’ll get re-thinking.