Success Story By Lisa Evans

My first publishing success came about thanks to a normal workday in my former marketing job. I was working for a human resources company as a marketing coordinator. My position was to research possible avenues for advertising the organization’s many conferences and workshops. That fateful day, I was in charge of advertising a new workshop being held in Toronto, Canada for new immigrants who wanted to pursue a career in human resources.

A Google search on “immigrant publications Toronto” revealed a monthly publication called “Canadian Immigrant”. The magazine contained helpful information for newcomers adjusting to their new life in Canada. Topics ranged from how to make a proper resume, purchasing a home versus renting, how to manage finances and culture shock issues. The articles were concise, written in a friendly tone, and were generally uplifting. With winter around the corner, I pitched them an article on dealing with Canadian winters. I received a response within a week – a 600-word assignment including at least two interviews with immigrants on how they have adapted to Canada’s harsh weather conditions.

I was thrilled and immediately set out to find my interviewees. I fired off an email to my work colleague, Altaf, who had immigrated from India in 1993, and met my second interviewee, a recent immigrant from Peru, in a store near my house. My 600-word article titled “Winter Wonderland” was published in the December 2010 issue and I received a cheque for $125. As an extra bonus, my article was the cover story!

Bolstered by my new publishing success, I pitched another idea to the magazine – an expose’ on immigrant mental health based on a recent study that found that, while immigrants arrive in Canada in overall better health than Canadians, their mental health deteriorates due to their frustration over finding work in their field. My pitch was accepted – 750 words for $150. I was moving up. The resulting article, titled “Working Can Be Bad for Your Health” was published in the January 2011 issue.

Since that day sitting in my cubicle searching for publications targeting Canadian newcomers, I have pitched over 10 articles to the magazine and have had eight of those ideas published since December 2010.

When I first started working as a freelance writer, I struggled with whether to come up with ideas and pitch them to every potential publication I could think of, or select one publication and brainstorm ideas specifically for them.

While both approaches may get the job done, targeting a specific publication has worked for me. I now have a feel for the style and type of articles the editor is looking for, and feel comfortable that the ideas I pitch to the magazine will be given consideration. I did this by taking my time to research the magazine, reading previously published articles to get a feel for the style of the magazine, putting myself in the position of the reader, and then sending a targeted pitch.

Lisa Evans is a freelance writer from Toronto, Canada. Visit her website


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