How to Pitch to FHM Magazine

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To: Joe Barnes, FHM Editor

From: Pitching the World

Subject: Poker/Other/Better

Date: 12th May 2015

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Hello Joe Barnes,

Here I come, crashing into your life again. It’s been a while – I hope you’re in rude health. I sort of am.

Not the usual blather this time though I’m afraid, I may actually have something half-decent. Since the turn of the year I’ve been travelling around the country playing live poker. Prior to that, I spent two years trapped in a room playing online poker and writing about it. So far I’ve played in London, Southampton, Brighton, Nottingham and Aberdeen. Have you ever been to Aberdeen? Oh, you really must. I cried with happiness up there. I was so happy up there, in fact, that I booked two Megabuses to come back down to London and cheerfully missed them both.

By the dog-end of the summer I want to have played in every casino in the UK that offers live poker. Why? Lots of reasons, really. First, to make money. Second, to see if I can compete nationally in live cash games. Third, to go parts of the country that I’ve never been to. Fourth, because no-one has ever done this before. And finally (and crucially) because I think it could make me a better, stronger person. I’ve been reading a ton about Stoicism over the last few years and trying to practice it, too. The central tenet, I think, is this: Many (if not all) things in life are out of our control, but what is in our control is how we react to things. The philosophy is very much centred upon character-building. The other day I lost a week’s wages (£750) in a couple of hours and walked out of the casino beaming because of the way I dealt with it. Before, in my more shambolic days, I would have buckled. I wouldn’t have walked out of anywhere beaming, I would have walked into the toilets and curled up in a ball and moaned. 

Is there anything in this? Not in curling up in a ball and moaning, more in what I’m proposing. Could there be a feature where the framework is about playing poker in all the casinos in the UK but it’s actually also more than that: part-UK-travelogue, part-philosophical treatise, part-something-else? 

No need to reply for a while, the whole project (if you can call it that – and you can’t, not really) won’t be wrapped up for a few months. But it would be splendid if you would at least consider it. I’ve been wanting to write for FHM since I was 16. It’s good again now. Some of the features are a lot more in-depth and interesting than they used to be, hence why I thought this could possibly fit. If not, no bother. You’re doing a damn fine job there regardless. I hope you’re happy. 

While I’m here, a link to one of my poker columns. Initially the column was going to run for 2-3 months but ended up lasting 88 weeks. It’s just to show I can write about poker, really. And about other stuff: [LINK REDACTED]

Ace,

Steve

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That’s how you pitch to FHM. Well, it’s certainly one way of pitching to FHM. It’s far from perfect – possibly too long, cloying in places, not as funny as it likes to think it is – but it worked. A couple of weeks later, the editor replied saying “we would love to have you writing for FHM” and “that the tour of UK casinos sounds like a goer.”

Yet it’s a few months down the line and I haven’t written that feature for FHM. Something went wrong. In fact, two somethings went wrong. One, the editor left. Two, I went broke and had to put the project into hibernation. Still, there is hope. There is always hope. I am in contact with the features editor, still want to write it, and I have been broke plenty of times before and managed to mend myself.

It’s heartening though. That’s the first pitch I’ve sent in years and it was more or less accepted. Imagine what could happen if I pitched more than one feature idea every 2-3 years. Imagine how many more projects I could abandon – I mean, put into hibernation. Imagine how much more hope I could have, then lose. That’s right, reader: Fuckloads.

Until then.

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5 responses to “How to Pitch to FHM Magazine

  1. Pitchy….get your act together. Write the stuff you’ve been asked to write. Ask for an advance on your expenses if you need to, and give the features editor permission to kick you from time to time. Though remember this is not the 30s/80s/any other decade where editors have time to babysit their writers, even the good ones. Keep notes, so you can write a book in due course. It’s a great idea, you are a fine writer, what’s keeping you? If I was your mum, I’d get very cross with you.

    • I hear what you are saying Heather and you’re right, you’re right. I have been keeping notes though and have 20,000+ words written. That’s something, right? Thank you, I like you hanging around here.

  2. Writing a philosophical piece thinly veiled as a poker piece is a grand idea. If nothing else, it would give you a perfect excuse to wear shorts and a hawaiian shirt, whilst driving around the country with your attorney. What could be better than that? Do you have an attorney? I dont have an attorney, but if i did, I would hire one named Bernard.

  3. Someone gave me a cool-as-hell (fitted, brown) Hawaiian shirt not so long ago so I’m halfway there. Well, a third* of the way, seeing as I can’t drive and don’t have an attorney. I’m glad you think it’s a grand idea. I do too. We’ll get there with this one Ben, we really will.

    *Actually, I was right – halfway. I have shorts.

  4. Is Heather actually your mum?
    Anyway, I like that occasionally I pop over to see if you’re still around and that very, very occasionally, you are! Well done you!

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