Wayne E. Pollard's No B.S. Blog for Writers

Writing Advice Without the B.S.

My secret to getting articles published–and how I forgot it

with 2 comments

I can’t believe I actually did this crap.

I’ve been pitching pieces to publications for over ten years (as a freelance writer and ghostwriter) and I’ve been able to get articles in publications around the world. I often talk to writers groups and public relations professionals about the art of pitching. Hell, I’ve even written articles about pitching. And still, what did I do?

I violated one of my main rules and, as a result, blew an opportunity to get another piece published in a magazine that I like. Let me explain…

My secret to getting many pieces published is this: Before I pitch an article idea to an editor, I check the publication’s archives to make sure that nothing like my article has been published in the past two years. If nothing like my article has been published, great! If an article like mine was published, I tell how my article will be different. So here’s what happened…

Recently, I created what I thought was a great article idea for this publication. I checked the article archives, found nothing like it that was published within the past two years, and sent a query letter to the editor, who had previously published my work.

The editor replied and asked me to give her some more details, which I did. Then I waited to hear from her again.

And waited.

After about two weeks without hearing from her, I got concerned.  I was in my local library when something told me to look at the current issue of the magazine I was trying to get my piece published in. I started flipping pages, then stopped. Right there, in the current issue, was an article that was exactly like the one I described in my reply to the editor. I felt like an idiot. No…

I felt unprofessional.

I was so busy checking the archives that I had forgotten to check the current issue.

I won’t do that again.


Written by Wayne

November 7, 2011 at 12:01 am

2 Responses

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  1. Just to comfort anyone else who’s ever felt like an idiot or felt unprofessional in their encounters with an editor, I once sent a query email to an editor and realised too late that it had a glaringly obvious typo in the first sentence. It was after midnight and I hadn’t even meant to click ‘send’. I was so worried by this that I, in my irrational, sleep-deprived state, immediately sent a follow-up email apologising for the typo and assuring said editor that the manuscript had been through a much more rigorous proofreading. But I suspect that only made things worse. The editor never replied. I don’t blame them. But… you live and you learn I suppose.
    Also, I like your blog. Thanks for posting. 😀


    August 25, 2012 at 9:41 am

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