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Freelancing and identifying yourself to sources

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Magol, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. Magol

    Magol New Member

    Assuming you haven't yet sold your work to a publication, how should you identify yourself to potential sources?
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    What kind of story is it?

    If you are trying to get an interview with Randy Moss for a story you hope to sell to some publication, that's a hard sell.

    If you are talking to high school coaches for a story you hope to peddle on how they handle divvying up playing time, that's not so hard.
  3. Magol

    Magol New Member

    Heh, that much I figured.

    I guess I'm looking for some general guidelines, no matter the type of story or source. I'm struggling to see why someone would respond to inquiry from an uncommissioned freelancer without knowing where the story will end up. Am I missing something?
  4. ringer

    ringer Member

    You really have no choice but to be honest. Say you're a freelance writer.

    If you need to add some gravity, you could say your past work has been published in outlet X or Y... or you could mention that you often write about subject Z.

    The smart ones will know to treat freelancers with respect.
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I am just wondering what type of uncommissioned freelance work you are pondering.

    If you are a well-known writer or expert in a field, that's one thing.

    But if you are trying to write a story then sell it to a newspaper, good luck.

    Not to be cruel, but we have almost no interest in stories freelancers try to pitch.

    I would be more receptive to a story PITCH.

    As an editor, I would feel more comfortable giving some instructions and guidelines beforehand than being handed something I didn't ask for, don't have room for and probably don't want to pay for.
  6. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    But two others on Bleacher Report say I'm ready for ESPN The Magazine.
  7. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    No doubt. You'll get much better results with "if I write this, will you run it?" than "I wrote this, please run it."
  8. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    If you don't value your time and effort, no one will. Don't write on spec for a newspaper.
  9. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Mr Ace,

    That's the advice I always give but I didn't take it myself. The first magazine story I ever sold, 2500 words, I wrote on spec, had never talked to the editor, just sent it in and said that I was just following up on an earlier conversation we had. He called me back to say he was buying it (princely sum of 1K) but was trying to remember when we talked.

    YHS, etc
  10. Kato

    Kato Active Member

    I once went to a talk by a pretty successful freelancer who moved on to writing books. His advice: Do only as much work as it takes to get make your pitch and do the rest once you've been hired. Your time is too valuable, he said, to do all of the work and hope that someone buys the story.
  11. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    Nifty stickhandling there, Friend. Did you ever 'fess up?
  12. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Great stuff FOTF, but also a different era -- at least I'd assume you didn't just start writing magazine stories in the past couple of years. :)
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