How to Prepare for the ScienceWriters2013 Power Pitch

 

The “power pitch” session at ScienceWriters2013 will give writers a chance to connect face-to-face with editors from 11 different publishers and publications. The session will be held Saturday morning from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in Century ballroom A. But you will have to sign up beforehand. For information on how to sign up, go here. In the power pitch session, you’ll sit across from an editor, one-on-one, for seven minutes, during which time you’ll have an opportunity to dazzle this editor with your very best ideas.

Here are some tips to help ensure that your ideas are just the right fit. We’ve also included a list of participating editors with links to their contact information and what they’re looking for in your pitches.

Come Prepared.

Take a close look at each editor’s blurb (links below) for information about the type of stories they’re looking for and what they want from a pitch. Pay attention to what editors want. If editors ask for news, don’t pitch features. Come ready to introduce yourself and explain what you have to offer.

Arrive on Time.

There’s only three minutes to clear the room of one group of writers and bring in a fresh set. The only way to make this event work is for the newest group of writers to be ready and waiting at the door. If you are late, you’ll be replaced. These slots are hard to come by and if you really can’t make it, then find a replacement. One thing that does upset editors is an empty chair.

Think in Tweets.

You really won’t want to spend much time explaining what your story is about. Distill your idea to its pithiest 140 characters. Then be prepared to discuss it, or move on.

Bring Several Ideas.

If your first idea doesn’t fly, and don’t be upset if it doesn’t, you’ll have another idea to move on to. Aim to arrive with at least three, and start with your strongest one.

Even a “Not For Us” Has Its Benefits.

Even if none of your pitches flies, you can still make a great impression by coming prepared and presenting your ideas in a professional and engaging way. You’ll be selling yourself and increasing the odds that the editor will read your future pitches.

Respect the Time Limit.

When you hear the one-minute warning, wrap it up. When you hear time called, please get up, thank the editor and say you’ll follow up with an email. Then, please exit the room without sitting down at another editor’s table.

Relax.

Realize that these editors want to participate. They’re all very nice folks who are looking for the next great pitch.

Before I started organizing the pitch events, I participated in lots of these editor one-on-ones. I know that they can be scary (especially for a major introvert like me), but I’ve found that these meetings are a great way to break into a publication. Editors do enjoy this and they want you to succeed.

Participating Editors:

 

Questions? Post them here, and I’m happy to answer them.

5 Comments

  1. Well you must have generated some great ideas! So without knowing how many editors you’ve pitched these to, and whether the markets are competing. You obviously can’t write exactly the same story for more than one publication but is there any way you can tweak the ideas enough to make them work in different versions. How many editors were you able to pitch these two ideas to?

    • I pitched to 4 editors. It would be tough to tweak the ideas enough that they would be separate ideas. I have 2 preferred editors that I would like to give one idea each, but then how do I follow up with the others? Should I just wait until I hear back from my top choices?

  2. Power Pitch was a great success, but perhaps too good. I pitched my two best ideas to more than one editor, and they all liked my ideas and want a formal pitch. Normally I wouldn’t send the same pitch to more than one editor at a time, but I want to follow-up with all of the editors I spoke with at Power Pitch. Any ideas with how to proceed?

  3. Do participants in the Power Pitch session typically leave the editor with a written pitch or do editors just want to hear ideas and get business cards?

    • Jeanne Erdmann says:

      Hi Christina,

      Thanks for the question. A business card and ideas are enough. You can follow up via email afterwards with a full pitch if any of your ideas fly. Good luck! !

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