WordCount – Freelancing in the Digital Age

By Michelle Vranizan Rafter

Why freelance queries get rejected

with 2 comments

Freelancers deal with rejection all the time and it doesn’t get any easier. The worst is when you’ve put your heart and soul into a query only to have an editor say “Thanks but no thanks,” or worse, not say anything at all.

I got dumped recently for the first time in a while, and looking back on the experience I should have known better. I sent what I thought was a carefully crafted pitch to an editor whose name had been forwarded to me by a colleague. The editor liked the pitch enough to call me, but wanted a slightly different angle that required me to do more research. Four lengthy interviews later, I emailed my revised pitch, then waited. When the editor finally got back to me it was to say, sorry, it’s still not exactly what we’re looking for.

I moped, then did what I should have done in the first place – asked the editor for a short phone conference. The next week he spent 15 minutes explaining to me in explicit detail the types of stories he’s looking for and the audience the publication is trying to hook. Will I sell my next pitch? I can’t say for sure, but at least I have a better idea of what to shoot for.

Ron Kovach, senior editor of The Writer, has some great information on this very topic in a new article called “Why queries get rejected,” on the magazine’s Website.

According to Kovach, pitches for stories that aren’t a perfect fit – like mine – are one reason queries get rejected. Others:

  • The publication has already run a number of stories on the topic and is giving it a rest for a while.
  • The pitch is good but the writer has relatively weak credentials compared to other freelancers the magazine usually works with.
  • The writer pitched 10 stories in one letter, which is about eight stories too many.

Read the whole story here.

Written by Michelle Rafter

May 25, 2008 at 7:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. This is a great article! I just came across your blog in the LinkedIn Writers & Editors group and am most certainly bookmarking it for future reference. Thanks for providing so many important answers for freelancers.

    ella lawrence

    November 29, 2008 at 4:07 pm

  2. […] Why freelance queries get rejected – It happens, even to the best of us. […]

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