I cover this subject annually, and each year it seems to draw lots of appreciative emails in return.
All writers should freelance. It’s a grand way to develop a platform as well as get paid. But we often don’t know when to submit, or how many times is enough. We can become so wrapped up in waiting to hear back that we neglect pitching, too. So here’s a plan to aid you in managing the freelance writing part of your career.
Keep 13 in Play is my tool. It consists of three spreadsheets (or just lists, if you like). In essence, you switch the same information around for the three lists, but you’ll see why.
SHEET 1) – Date sent, name of article, name of publication, contact, follow-up date, notes
SHEET 2) – Name of article, name of publication, date, follow-up date, notes
SHEET 3) – Name of publication, name of articles, date, follow-up date, notes
Why the difference?
With Sheet 1, you keep up with your activity on a daily basis – measuring your work output and offering a sheet to be used for your income tax filing.
With Sheet 2, you keep up with where you continue to send any particular article. For instance, if it doesn’t work for Magazine A, you sent it to Magazine B, and when you’re rejected by Magazine B, you sent it to Magazine C. You monitor where an article is at any time.
With Sheet 3, you keep up with markets. This way you don’t accidentally pitch the same piece to the same market. It also shows you over time the types of articles certain publications appreciate.
This system keeps you streamlined and organized, which should raise your acceptance rate. So what’s the 13 mean? Frankly, you can pick whatever number you desire. I use 13 just so I can stare the unlucky number in the eye in defiance, but you can use 10, 25, or whatever you prefer. While those numbers seem high, they are not. You’ll never be accepted for all 13 at once, but still, if you are, that’s just plain marvelous.
Your goal is to perpetually keep 13 in play. Your number drop to 12 because of an acceptance or rejection? Stop and pitch to maintain that 13. Keep 13 queries in play . . . always. You’ll soon learn to forget the list until someone responds, and then you instantly refill it to 13. It becomes all about the pitching, not the looking back and waiting for a reply.
~By C. Hope Clark, an author and editor at: http://www.fundsforwriters.com