2014 Get Started Write Challenge: Day 5

Sorry for the delay with today’s task; I was having technical difficulties this morning.

For today’s task, write a pitch–preferably for the story idea you created for yesterday’s task. Need help writing a pitch? I’ve got some advice below, and there’s a class being taught by a literary agent on January 9 that tackles the issue (click to continue).

Here’s my attempt at a pitch:

It’s common knowledge that mothers-to-be have to carry the heavier burden and risk in a first-time pregnancy, but fathers-to-be aren’t completely off the hook. In my article, “How to Be a First-Time Daddy,” I’ll reveal commonly overlooked problems that first-time fathers can encounter, from feeling “outside the process” to sympathy weight gain and more.

In this article, I plan to interview doctors, mothers, and fathers to get their perspective on these issues. Plus, I will reference studies and reports issued that specifically comment on how fathers deal with pregnancy.

This article will not only be of interest to men, but also the women who love them. It is sure to stir debate.

Okay, so this is kind of a boiler plate pitch that I pieced together pretty quick. If I were really submitting it, I would personalize the pitch further by giving an estimated word count and suggesting which section of the magazine it belonged. But I’ll cover studying markets later this month.

Here are a few keys to successful nonfiction pitches:

  • Include the proposed article title in the first paragraph. In fact, it’s best to include the article title in the first sentence or two. As an editor, this helps me visualize what the story will cover.
  • Provide the hook in the first paragraph. The hook is the “why does this article matter.” In my pitch, the hook is that fathers aren’t completely care-free when it comes to pregnancy.
  • Give concise account of what your article will deliver in 1-2 paragraph(s). Share what your piece will cover, who (if anyone) will be interviewed, and how it will be structured. Of course, an editor may have questions or suggestions, but the more detail you provide the easier it is for an editor (like myself) to visualize.

(There’s a whole agent one-on-one on submissions starting January 13, learn more.)

For fiction writers, the pitch is not as important as the completed story. A sound strategy is to introduce your story by title in the opening sentence along with a word count. Beyond that, you may include a brief summary of 2-3 sentences, but even that is not necessary. The submission will sink or swim on the merits of the actual finished and polished story.

Good luck with your pitches!

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Click to continue.

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Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

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