How to Make Money: Pitching Publications
While publishing books, sponsored posts, and affiliate sales are popular ways for many sex writers and bloggers to make money, one of the most sought after options is to pitching another publication. For many of us (myself included), this marks the moment we become a “real” writer. In case you wondered, if you write anything anywhere prior to this moment, you’re definitely a real writer. But that goal sits out there for many of us.
Having a pitch accepted by another publication validates some of us in ways that writing for ourselves doesn’t. The question, though, is how to take that ability to pitch and turn it into steady income. It’s not as hard as you think.
In the ongoing series of “How to Make Money” let’s talk about pitching publications and turning that into a real income.
Make a Wish List
If you’re blogging about sex, kink, or relationships, you’re likely reading other websites who talk about the same thing. Make a list of websites you’d love to write for. It doesn’t even matter whether you know their pitching process or not. Just start with a list. Pitching publications is a numbers game. The more websites you contact, the more chances you have of getting to a yes. If you’ve seen article on social media that you thought, “I could have written that!” make a note of what website it was published on and add it to your list.
Once you have a list of possible publications, see which of those sites has a “Write for Us” section. This will often include submission guidelines, what they’re looking for, and how to get in touch. If you don’t see that information, look for contact information. A smaller website may have a simple “Contact Us” page while a bigger publication should have a list of editors. Find the editor that seems most likely to fit your topic and reach out.
Write a Good Pitch
Need to know how to write a pitch? Check out How to Pitch a Website to craft it. Once you do that, make sure it’s the best it can be. Look over it for grammar mistakes. Make sure you meet the publication’s criteria if they shared any. Read through your article ideas to make sure they’re clear and concise. Double check all your details. Editors usually have a lot of email to wade through. Don’t get ignored or forgotten because you misspelled words or had poor grammar.
Make sure your pitch matches the style of the website. Don’t suggest a personal essay on a website that caters to analytical and informational pieces. Don’t pitch hardcore fetish to a website that focuses on vanilla sex. Just like you need to know your audience as a writer, know your editor audience when you’re pitching publications.
Some editors want one pitch per email. Others don’t mind multiple pitches so they have a few to choose from. Until you know for sure, send one pitch per email. Later, if you establish a relationship with an editor, you can find out if they’d like you to send all your ideas in a single email.
Always Be Pitching
I mentioned it before, and I’ll mention it again. Pitch a lot of publications. One a month doesn’t build a career. One a week is a better start, although I’d say build up to one a day if you have enough ideas and enough editors to contact. Yes, you’re going to be terrified the first dozen times you do it. Your palms will sweat, your hands will shake, and you’ll question all your life decisions up to this point.
But if this is the dream – writing and getting paid to do it – then this is part of the process of making that dream come true. Eventually, as your sex writing career grows, you won’t have to do this quite so often. Writing for other websites will be one stream of income that fits in with other writing you do. But until you form relationships with a few editors, pitching is a numbers game. And you’ve got to do it even when you’re scared.
Vary Your Pitches
Don’t pitch the exact same topic to five publications at the same time. You can, however, pitch a similar topic to multiple websites. I might pitch “How to Tell Your Partner You’re a Submissive” to one website and “How to Talk About Kink” to another. It will be my responsibility to make sure the finished pieces are completely different. Sure, I can use the same ideas, but I have to be able to explain them in different ways so the two articles are unique.
Most of the time, websites are so different that you can take a similar idea – like consent – and turn it into wildly different articles based on the website’s audience and focus alone. Talking about consent in BDSM isn’t too different from talking about consent in vanilla sex but some of the language we use is. By the time you’re done, you’ve got two completely different articles from one idea.
Meet Your Deadlines
Ask an editor what they dislike most, and they’ll likely say a flaky writer. Writers have a reputation for not sending in their work on time, not accepting feedback, and not communicating. Be better than that. Most of the writing jobs I’ve ever gotten had less to do with my writing talent (which is subjective) and more to do with the fact that I show up and do what I say I’ll do. And I’m not the only one. Plenty of writers take our work seriously, and we value the relationships we build with editors and companies. Be that kind of writer.
Try to beat your deadline, especially when you’re new. If something comes up, contact your editor immediately and see what you can work out. Send in your best work – and offer to make changes if needed. Larger publications have editing departments who take care of that. The smaller websites don’t, and they’ll appreciate your offer. Follow their guidelines to the letter. If you make an editor’s job easy, they’ll want to keep working with you.
The more you pitch publications, the better you get at it. Work with a publication long enough, and you’ll get a feel for what they want. Develop a good relationship with an editor, and they’ll reach out to you first for content they need. For a couple of websites, I’ve become one of their go-to BDSM writers. When they need something specific for a project, they’ll reach out to me to see if I’m available. Because I get the writing done on time and well, while being easy to work with, they continue to reach out. While pitching publications isn’t my only source of sex writing income, it is something I can count on. If this is the kind of writing you dream of doing, keep pitching, writing, and building relationships. It’ll pay off in the end.
Any other tips for successfully pitching publications and making money? Share in the comments below!