Daily Archives: April 7, 2011

How to Pitch En Masse

The letter below is the one I’ve been sending out when pitching recently. The replies from Eds so far have been favourable – gushing, even – and no one’s told me to go fuck myself yet. Hopefully they will at some point. I always like it when someone tells me to go fuck myself. Always. News on commissions etc. to follow. Oh, and please don’t steal this letter and pass it off as your own work. Unless you REALLY want to. Then it’s okay.

Dear Editorial,
I’m a former political speechwriter, former award-winning journalist and current tramp. I say tramp, though use the term loosely and my tramp-like qualities are minimal: I drink too much sometimes and don’t really have anywhere to live (I’m officially homeless – how awesome is that? Not very, it turns out) but I work, and work hard. The week before last I was writing about architecture for £3 a word. One doesn’t get offered £3 a word without working hard. How many tramps get £3 a word? Not many, is my guess.
Okay, the point. The point is that I would like to write for you – on a freelance basis. I have ideas. One idea would be…[and here I go into the pitch specific to the publication – usually it’s only a line or two.] Don’t worry, I have other ideas. Possibly some that are even better than that.
I have clippings. Oh, I have clippings. From the Guardian, Independent and Daily Mail mostly, but also from Square Mile, Front, Maxim, The British Journalism Review and a heap more. In the main they’re not from last year. In the spring and early summer of last year I was the North London Section Editor for Square Meal and had to review 115 bars and restaurants – that took some time. Then I separated from my wife and was the researcher on a documentary about risk taking for a month, before spending six weeks writing chapters of a book on Bosnia and Kosovo for an ex-military General. Then I went to Dubai for a month to start writing a book for a couple of people. After that, I spent a few months writing reports for a company in Mayfair. You’re right: it was a heady time.
Do please let me know if you’d like a non-tramp-like tramp to work for you. I am, somewhat unbelievably, incredibly reliable.
With very best wishes,

Pitching the World
What do you think? About the letter/pitch, that is? This isn’t part of the letter/pitch by the way, it’s me asking you what you think. What do you think?