Editors weigh in on market pitching

A few weeks ago I posted about the relative merits of market versus silo pitching and the post kicked up a lot of conversation around the internet. Yesterday Lesley Evans Ogden reached out to a few editors to see what they thought of the practice. Her piece “Simultaneous Pitching: Views from the Other Side of the Desk” has responses from seven editors, including one that I have known for four or five years (who somehow got my name wrong).

Of course, there’s no reason for editors to like the fact that they might have to compete for particular ideas. So I was happily surprised to see how open most of them were to the fact that the notion that simultaneous pitching is just a fact of the industry. While one or two bristled at the idea that not every pitch they receive might be truly exclusive, they also grudgingly admitted that it could take weeks to even read an idea. One wrote  that the ten minutes that they have to dedicate to reading a pitch can be a burden to an already packed work day. This of course assumes that it isn’t a burden to freelancer to wait in some sort of queue, possibly weeks, for an up or down answer that should only take minutes. What happens to that freelancer if the editor says no? There are only 52 weeks in a year, how many chances can an idea get at bat before it is stale?

All the editors did seem to agree that even if a pitch does get accepted into a magazine, it usually changes as writer and editor work together. And, from this perspective, you could say that there is no such thing as multi-pitching, anyway, since the final product will always adapt to the specific publication.

Tracy Hyatt, Editor, WestworldBC Magazine, notes:

“Back when I started 15 years ago, it [simultaneous pitching] was a no-no because every publication wanted to have exclusive content… Nowadays, we’re seeing a lot of the content repeated all over the place. So you don’t really have any exclusivity on any content, or any ideas for that matter.”

It’s definitely a worthwhile read. It also seems to clear the way for an idea that I’ve been working on to transform the way that ideas get to the market. Keep an eye on this website. Big things are going to happen in April.

1 Comment

  1. Tom Chandler   •  

    In Ms. Ogden’s article, this statement drove me up the wall:

    I would advise against Carney’s method until the industry standard is to market pitch. This may happen, and for freelancers’ sake I hope it does, but you probably don’t want to be on the vanguard. (In principle I’m all for collective action, but the cost to individual writers is still too high in this case, I think.)

    Yow. How is the industry going to “standardize” on a market pitch until writers force the issue, even a little bit? “Hoping” it becomes the norm isn’t going to make it happen, and neither is waiting for everyone else “to be on the vanguard.”

    After all, editors clearly don’t want market pitching. It’s left to writers to move the industry the direction they want it moved; who else is going to do it?

    Or will timidity simply win out?

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