Who Am I?

I was born in 1975. Towards the end of 2009, I decided to pitch all 642 magazines listed in the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook. I came up with the idea after quitting my job as a political speechwriter in the Caribbean and I was worried about what I was going to do for work. So far it’s been a bit of a disaster: since starting Pitching the World I’ve lost my wife, mind, hair and muscle definition, whilst gaining precious little. The best bit so far – perhaps the only good bit so far – was when I drew some pie charts.

If you want to get in touch, try this: pitchingtheworld*at*hotmail.com

Here’s my first ever entry. It should help explain things.

A Complex Plan

Hello and welcome.

I am an idiot. A little over a week ago I foolishly started an experiment. I say experiment, though the word experiment is used in a very loose sense. In fact it’s not an experiment at all, no matter how loosely you use the word: it’s something altogether different.

Let’s start again.

I am an idiot. A little over a week ago I began to pitch feature ideas to every UK magazine listed in the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook. There are 642 of them in total – magazines that is, not Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbooks. The W&A Yearbook, for those who don’t know, is a faintly depressing book – a yearbook, whatever the hell that is – that lists a bunch of publishers, contact details for newspapers and magazines, advice on how to approach television channels and production companies, the details of agents – you get the picture I’m sure. On the front cover there is a quote from Julie Myerson – whoever the hell that is – letting us know that the book is “the best friend an aspiring writer can have” (not true: my best friend is Gary Sams) and on the back there’s a load more guff about it being “a must for established and aspiring authors” (The Society of Authors), “full of useful stuff” (J.K. Rowling) and “packed with tips and professional insight” (The Association of Illustrators).

I’m really beginning to hate it.

I’m beginning to hate it because there’s a shitty introduction by Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan. I’m beginning to hate it because the advice – bar one or two exceptions – isn’t going to help anyone, let alone me. I’m beginning to hate it because it just sits there on my desk all red and yellow and garish, doing nothing. I’m really beginning to hate it because there are 642 magazines in there and I’ve made a decision to pitch every single one. That means I have to pitch Trout and Salmon, Slim at Home, and Black Hair and Beauty. It means that in the last week I’ve already pitched Accounting and Business, Aeroplane Monthly and AIR International. It means, in short, that I am an idiot. An idiot with his work cut out.

A good question here would be “Why? Why would you want to pitch every magazine in that depressing yearbook?”

Well, that is indeed a good question. A good answer is a little harder to come by, but I’ll give it a shot. Firstly, I came up with the idea when I was stoned in Darwin, Australia. Now, if you’ve ever been stoned in Darwin, Australia, you’ll know that a lot of things that strike you as good ideas cease to be good ideas when you’re not stoned in Darwin, Australia. Problem is, I had told my wife about my idea (I think I might have said something along the lines of “I’ve had a breakthrough”) and my brother-in-law about my idea and a few other people and it just kind of snowballed to the extent that I can’t back away from my breakthrough because I’ve had lots of breakthroughs before and mostly they just peter out because they are not really breakthroughs at all, just rubbish ideas. So that’s one reason: I’m sticking with it to prove a point.

Another reason is that it’s my livelihood. Prior to being stoned in Darwin, Australia I was a political speechwriter in St Kitts, the Caribbean. I left that job for reasons far too numerous and complicated to go into now, but the main reason I left that job as a political speechwriter in St Kitts, the Caribbean was to go back to being a freelance journalist. That’s right: at possibly the worst time in history for freelancers I left my prestigious, well paid and more-exotic-sounding-than-it-is job to go back to journalism. And when I was stoned in Darwin, Australia, the thought of hassling my regular editors for commissions struck me as too depressing for words. So I thought I would cast my net a little wider. So I decided to pitch loads of different magazines, and the W&A Yearbook seemed a good place to start.

I’ll go into some other reasons another time (bet you can’t wait). I’ll go into a lot of other stuff too: who I’ve pitched so far and what their responses have been; regular updates on my pitching success or otherwise; the nature of journalism in modern Britain and the writer I’d most like to fight in a pub car park.

Until then, then.

26 responses to “Who Am I?

  1. Seeing your blog has brightened my day and hardened my resolve to be more creative – no pressure then. Good luck.

  2. See what you mean about the slapdash approach to anonymity (dwpub.com). And by the way, you haven’t pitched to us yet…

  3. Dude

    Like your style. Really like it. As a chain-smoking fellow writer, I can relate. I might even start reading blogs. Actually, scratch that.

    But still, good luck and that.


  4. Thanks very much Catherine – happy to help.
    Bel – yes, I did indeed screw up my anonymity, but then I knew I would sooner or later. I’ll pitch under a pseudonym from now on. So, you know, watch out for that.

  5. Just read your interview with DWpub and had a lovely chuckle. I would buy your book (especially if it was discounted on Amazon) so don’t be disheartened, you could have royalties on £3.41 in the future.

  6. Good to hear Tracey. Any chance of having the £3.41 up front?

  7. The Luncheon Vouchers are in the post…

  8. Hi,
    Catherine put me on to your blog – God knows what I did to offend her. Best of luck with Colchester and tell Andy King no hard feelings but I’m glad he isn’t Swindon’s manager any more. If you give him a cigar chances are he’ll give you a run-out.
    Did I mention I’m a Swindon fan? Kind of hard to follow them from Sydney tho. Let me know if you want to pitch to the Australian – can you write right wing crap?

  9. Steve – your opening line there is splendid. If I ever run a guest blog on pitchingtheworld you’re on the shortlist. It won’t happen of course, but I pay £1 a word and you’re on it.
    Good to have some people in Australia reading. I also have a strong fan base in Hawaii, Sweden and Wales. “Strong”, in this instance, meaning one or two readers.
    Yes, can write right wing crap.
    AFCB forever.
    Oh, and which Catherine? Boundy?

  10. Hi Steve,

    Brilliant blog. Very funny. One question. How did you end up writing for the Singaporean ministry of defense? Good luck with your trial!

  11. I like you Chris Sanders, and I like that you consider my blog both “brilliant” and “very funny”. Unfortunately, it’s just a trick of the light: it’s neither brilliant nor funny. Double-unfortunately I can’t tell you how I ended up writing for the Singaporean etc. and even whether or not it’s true. Apologies.

  12. Pingback: Pitch up – Look Sharp: part #1 « Wannabe Hacks

  13. Pingback: Wannabe Hacks » Pitch up – Look Sharp: part #1

  14. You’re a class act me old mucker; glad to have found you.

  15. Thanks Eric, you’re not so bad yourself.

  16. Hi,

    Not really a comment but I am trying to find an email subscription widget to load on my blog. Can you tell me where you found yours?

  17. Um, in the widget bit. Is this a joke? If it is, is it one I don’t get? If it isn’t, it’s in the widget bit. Good luck.

  18. Hi Mister Persistent pitcher!
    love the article in Writing Magazine – another one off your list, eh? You should be proud of your inspiring irreverent attitude and I hope it works for you – as you say, the standard follow-my-yearbook ones don’t seem to. I agree with you its depressing, I bought it once and once only. The entries were like a cliquey reproach to my neediness. I write for a few magazines, would starve if I had to rely on, as would my family of 7, ouch! I really want to sort out all those novels needing publications that i have leeching my brain and went to the London Book fair to see if I could find the Holy Grail of Publishers…. will let you know if its successful!
    Take care in your nomadic phase, very best wishes, very GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!

  19. I read about your pitching mission in writing magazine and had to have a look, I think what your doing is very cool, if some what challenging! (But hey is that not what life is about?)
    In the article it said that you had yet to pitch for I’m Pregnant! Magazine, well maybe you could write about new evidence that show’s how men can get post natal depression? (Just an idea, although I’m sure you’ve got a few of your own).
    I also wanted to wish you luck and look forward to reading more of your blog and following your progress. Keep pitchin’ man! 🙂

  20. Thanks very much Julie and K – appreciate your kind words and ideas. I will indeed keep pitching. Stick around, yeah?

  21. Hi, this is interesting, as I was browsing through my W & A book yesterday and thought I’ll send something to everyone of these magazines. Now it’s great to see someone else as daft as me. Good luck with it…

  22. Hello susanjanejones. I think you should try and send something to every one of those magazines. I’m doing it and it’s splendid. Nothing’s gone wrong, not even remotely. All the best.

  23. Your blog gets an A+ (the schoolgirl still in me likes that rating system better than the thumbs up, ha ha). I love your writing style!

    Your idea is ludicrous, but believe it or not I had a similar idea to list all the magazines and online news-magazine-websites in the USA (admittedly, I wasn’t going to hit up trout fishing or Black hair mags) and pitch to them. Although as of the moment, I have nothing but a ton of bitter poetry, old university essays and 1 crazy play to propose. -_-

  24. Thanks very much. And I agree, an A+ is much better than a thumbs up. What’s your crazy play about?

  25. Oh hi.

    It’s seems I’ve arrived at this party a little late but thought I’d leave my mark anyway. Your idea seems great, trust me, once when I was stoned I decided to buy 23 editions of the Animals of Farthing Wood kids magazine (plus sticker book) off Ebay for £17… there was an extra £3.95 P&P and once the buggers arrived they took up a suprisingly large ammount of under-the-bed space. I was a student at the time and I couldn’t afford Asda Smart Price baked beans let alone a stack of shit story magazines which provided zero nutrition.

    So how are you getting on with your venture?


    ps. I’m really loving your writing

  26. Oh, hi Suzie. Just updated earlier today. Really pleased that you’re loving my writing, but even more pleased that you got stoned and ordered 23 editions of the Animals of Farthing Wood. I like those sorts of tales.

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