Monday, March 11, 2013

Should you pitch to more than one title at a time?

The Pros and Cons of simultaneous and multiple submissions

by Roy Stevenson

In today’s competitive freelance writing arena the practice of submitting simultaneous query letters to magazine editors has become necessary to survive.

Traditionally, freelance writers would send out a query letter or email to a magazine and wait to hear back from the editor. After a few weeks when the editor sends a rejection email, or doesn’t bother responding (which is the norm today—more and more editors simply don’t have the time to send out rejections), the writer then sends out the same query letter to the next magazine editor on his list, and waits again to hear back from that editor. And so on.

This process takes months or years before the writer has exhausted his list of potential magazines, or finally gets lucky and has an article accepted.

This process is clearly set up to avoid the discomfiture of having more than one editor pick up the story, and old school writers doggedly stick to this system, fretting and worrying about what they would do if more than one editor wanted their article.

This system is simply not practical in today’s market for freelancers trying to earn a living, and I think the spectre of having more than one editor pick up a story is simply a non-issue. I think freelancers should be sending out simultaneous queries for every story. Using simultaneous queries has resulted in a 90% acceptance rate for my articles!

With my system, I send my query out simultaneously to as many magazines that I think my article would be a good fit for. I do this by creating extensive distributions lists with the editor’s names and contact details for all the magazines in the genres that I write for. This includes magazines in all other English-speaking countries. The number of magazines on my various distributions lists ranges from five to seventy five, and includes magazines in England, U.S.A, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

After creating an enticing query letter, I send it out to every editor on that list. Then I sit back and wait for an acceptance email. Inevitably my story idea—if halfway decent— will resonate enough with an editor somewhere around the world for him or her to accept my story for publication.


Roy Stevenson is a professional freelance travel writer based in Seattle, Washington. With more than 800 articles published in 180 regional, national, and international magazines, newspapers, in-flights and online travel magazines, Roy is one of the most prolific travel writers in the U.S.A. His website is aimed at helping travel writers with their marketing.