Three Questions to Ask AND Answer BEFORE You Pitch an Article Idea by Joshua Pantalleresco

Three Questions to Ask AND Answer BEFORE You Pitch an Article Idea by Joshua Pantalleresco

Writers are their own worst enemies when it comes to talking about their stories. Great ideas are often right at the fingertips of many freelancers. Their expertise on certain subjects is just waiting to be shared, but then the word “sales” comes into the picture and many of us freeze up. Whether it’s breaking down a novel or a feature article into a sentence, it’s easy to overthink yourself out of telling a good story.

That’s what pitching is at the end of the day. Storytelling and relationships are the heartbeat of sales. It took me about a year to really master it but, once I understood this, I became more confident in how I approach editors and publishers. While I don’t always get a yes, I do get them more often now.

With each pitch I make, I ask myself three very important questions. These questions help me solve the biggest problems with pitching. How do I connect to my editor and my reader with what I’m trying to say?

What’s The Story You’re Trying To Tell?
All pitches are a story. Ask yourself before you send that email what story you want to tell. In this case, I’m talking about how I pitch, and how asking these three questions crystallizes what I’m trying to convey to editors and readers, and what expectations I create with my pitch.

Getting an editor to understand what you’re trying to convey is the key. Communicating what story I’m telling helps both the editor and myself envision the story I’m pitching. Freelancing is all about delivering expectations and writers need to be clear about that. Figuring this out helps you craft your work.

What Problem Does It Solve?
Every story needs to solve a problem. When I pitch, I think of the problems facing writers today. How can I serve an audience? Because, when you can serve an audience, you will find a readership or, even better in some cases, you will create one. There are a ton of places to pitch your work. There are niches everywhere that are desperately craving content and you have to figure out what places need your talents and expertise. Every pitch I send to editors is about an article that will solve a problem. Often, when you see open calls for pitching, editors are telling you what they need, and how much they are willing to pay for it.

Why Should They Care?
This does tie into the problem solving, but it goes beyond that. Writers have to figure out how to tell the stories they care about.  Breaking into niches is all about finding ways for the material to connect to the author telling the story. We don’t just read content for the sake of information. We read it because we want to feel something. With freelancing today, your material has to sing, because readers have to be able to connect, relate, and engage with the content. If you don’t find a way to care about what you’re writing, it will translate. A writer that doesn’t care will lose their editor and audience.

Get Out Of Your Own Way
Answering those three questions has helped me with pitching, whether it’s here at WritersWeekly, or at Anime Herald, or any website or magazine. I know the story I’m trying to tell, I know the problems I’m solving by telling the story, and I know why I, and my editors, care about it.

Having all this information before I send out a pitch shapes my pieces, and it allows me to constantly keep pitching.

Joshua Pantalleresco writes stuff, podcasts and dabbles in illustration. He has written 5 books and articles for places like Anime Herald and First Comics News. His next book, Lights Out is coming out April or May this year. He does a podcast called Just Joshing and it airs 5 days a week in which he interviews creatives about life, the universe and everything. He lives in Canada and is working on drawing a comic. His website is:

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