Ask The Freelance Dude #9 – Perilous Pitches?


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Dear Freelance Dude,

What are the repercussions of having a pitch rejected? Will getting a pitch rejection put you on “The List” of writers to ignore future pitches from, since there are a ton of other writers who can fill your place instead? Failure is a lot easier to cope with when there are future opportunities to try again! Also, are there any actions, outside of full-on disrespect and rudeness, that can jeopardize your relationship with a publication before it even starts? I don’t want to relocate to San Francisco in order to further my goal of becoming a games writer, only to find out that no one will take me because of something I did two years prior.

Thanks,
Andrew T.

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Dear Andrew,

Thankfully there’s no “victory or death” in freelancing. It’s not all Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome up in here. You’re not drawn and quartered if your pitch isn’t accepted…usually. Even the best writers and freelancers have their pitches rejected from time to time. It’s actually pretty common, so don’t worry about that. It is still important, however, to make a good impression and be professional when you’re getting in touch with editors.

Most of the time having a pitch rejected is nothing personal. Even when you’re convinced you’ve got the perfect idea, sometimes it just doesn’t jive with what a particular publication or editor is looking for. Other times the concept is great, but the execution is lacking or someone else already pitched something too similar. That said, if you consistently send pitches that are exceptionally awful, full of typos and grammar mistakes, or just pain old obnoxious, then you’re not doing yourself any favors. You might not get blacklisted per se, but you won’t be endearing yourself to the people you want to hire you.

How you deal with rejection is important too. Hurling insults, arguing, or acting in a similarly inappropriate manner with an editor who declines your idea is the quickest way onto their shit list. That is not a list you want to be on. While it sounds silly that a freelance writer would lambaste the person their trying to get to hire them, it happens. Don’t be that person. Also, avoid pitching the same idea to more than one outlet at a time. Fire off a pitch. Get a response one way or the other. Then re-tool it and try again elsewhere if the response is not favorable.

Otherwise, I wouldn’t sweat it. If you’re sending in well-written pitches that are being rejected, just keep pitching new ones until something sticks, and if you get feedback from an editor as to why you’ve been rejected, then take that lump gracefully, listen carefully, and learn from it.

Best,
The Freelance Dude

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Follow @nmeunier on Twitter for more writing advice, game industry commentary, and freelance shenanigans.

Have a writing, freelancing, or game journalism related question you’d like answered? No problem! Hop on over here for details on how to submit it to The Freelance Dude!

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