Thanks to Google, I just picked up this cool little trick. I have the worst luck finding actual names of editors and appropriate contact people at different publications, so I tried a new approach—I simply did a Google search for “editor [publication name]” and had more luck tracking down a real person that way than on most pubs’ websites. I still had to do some digging since some of the results were pretty old, but it was still quicker to track down the right person doing it this way than scanning some of these websites. I spent a better portion of an afternoon re-sending queries and LOI’s to various markets—mainly those that only had the generic “info@” or “editorial@” address that I hate. I even managed to land a few responses on the same day—with mixed results, but still!
Along those same lines, some of the responses I received were the “Thanks, but…” kind. “Thanks, but we aren’t paying freelancers right now.” “Thanks, but we’ve gone in-house.” “Thanks, but we’re cutting back on content at the moment.” So maybe these are some of the reasons why I never heard back from any of these places? I guess the magazine industry is still feeling the crunch.
Also, again thanks to Google, I did contact a few “under the radar” markets (mostly trade pubs). I recently did an article for a food trade pub, and really enjoyed the assignment, so I wanted to try my luck at breaking into similar markets. One of my biggest frustrations with freelancing is that most of us are one-hit wonders—we can try to break into a market for months, finally pitch something that’s accepted, and are never able to score another assignment. But persistence sometimes pays off, and I do have something to show for my efforts—I found one market that looked interesting (a food market focused on spice/pepper/smoke), so I sent an LOI and the editor got back to me a few hours later and invited me to send some clips. A few days and one follow-up email later, I landed an assignment! They strike me as very easygoing folks, and this assignment will also give me the chance to work some humor into the piece, which I unfortunately don’t get to do very often. (I tend to be funnier in person than I am on paper). In any case, I’m looking forward to it and hope I can do other pieces for them.
What about you? What interesting/useful tricks have you tried lately?