I am still going through the long list of submissions I received during UPPERCASE's open pitch. I received 82 submissions from folks around the globe hoping to be featured in the pages of UPPERCASE or to write, photograph or illustrate for the magazine. Some submitters simply wanted me to see an image that related to one of the topics I was accepting pitches for; others sent in-depth explanations with great detail. I have to say that the most arresting pitches had one or two stunning images, a brief paragraph of explanation, some evidence of the author's basis of research or their access to experts, and—this is the key—their pitch left me wanting to find out more. As the editor of the magazine, if I am intrigued by the story, I am more inclined to commission the article. After all, an article is an investment of valuable resources as well as my time to oversee it.
A few more tips when sending UPPERCASE a pitch:
1. familiarity with the magazine—know our audience, the tone of our writing and be familiar with past issues as to not pitch a topic close to something we have recently covered. From my perspective, if a person wants to be in the pages of UPPERCASE, they will have made the effort to read past issues and (bonus!) already be a subscriber.
2. understanding of what makes a good article—communicate the story of an artist or how they fit into the UPPERCASE ethos rather than just showing a sample from a portfolio.
3. pitch something original. If someone has been amply covered in big magazines, then they're generally not a good fit for UPPERCASE. We naturally shy away from celebrity and fame, that's just not what UPPERCASE is about. Strangely, I have received submissions where the author introduces the pitch saying they read about so-and-so on such-and-such blog or magazine and would like the opportunity to write something for us. Why would we want to do something that has already been done?
If you are looking for more good advice on how to pitch ideas to publications, UPPERCASE contributor Christine Chitnis has the e-course for you: Pitch Perfect. Available through Squam Art Workshops, this 4-week course will give you the foundation for creating professional pitches. Whether you're a writer or an artist or artisan trying to get your work published, this looks to be an informative and worthwhile course.