5 Lessons I Learned Tracking My Pitches for a Year

Excerpt from The Freelancer:

By Anna Cat Brigida

When I first started freelancing, I saw pitching as an unpredictable part of the job. The pitch itself mattered, of course, but I always felt that I was more lucky than smart when one was accepted. But now I know that’s not true—pitching is just as much science as art.

For the past year, I’ve kept a log of all the queries I’ve sent and editors’ responses (I have to give credit to fellow Contently contributor Julie Schwietert Collazo for suggesting the idea during her pitch class). With this data, I now better understand my own habits. Best of all, I’m using the information to plan out my future freelancing goals.

A pitch log can be simple. Mine is a Google spreadsheet. Every time I send a pitch, I open the spreadsheet and write the outlet name, story title, date I sent the pitch, and mark the status as “waiting.”

When an editor gives a definitive response, I mark the pitch as “accepted” or “rejected.” I mark pitches as “some interest” when an editor responds positively to the idea but doesn’t assign it in the end. If I don’t hear back after a follow-up, the pitch gets marked as “no response.” In the few cases where I’ve sold a story elsewhere or could no longer work on it, I marked the pitch as “withdrawn.”

In the past year, I sent out 148 pitches to 47 publications. In total, I had work published in 20 of these publications, including The Daily Beast, Vice’s Broadly, Al Jazeera, Roads & Kingdoms, Fusion, BBC, and others. My overall acceptance rate was about 26 percent…

You can read the full blog post here.

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