Pitch Perfect?

Perhaps I should move my office – it’s far too tempting to stare out to sea and watch the early morning dog walkers on their way to the beach. I used to be one of them but sadly, my little hairy mutt Holly died in the New Year so my walks now are solitary ones. It feels odd and I still look back to see where she’s got to.

The sea today looks calm and placid in contrast to its hissy fit of the past few days with the waves smashing onto the beach and pebbles clacking noisily in the undertow. Now the gales have passed and the beach is strewn with debris – ideal for a bit of beach combing.

However, first I have a couple of pitch letters to write to magazine editors and whilst the features almost write themselves I find the pitch letters incredibly difficult, bringing on a bout of verbal constipation. I could cold-call I suppose but that gives me the willies even more than the pitch letter.

I’ve read a lot of advice about how to write the perfect pitch letter but it still doesn’t come naturally. I confess most of my published short work has been “speculative” – that is I’ve studied carefully the magazine I want to write for; checked length, structure etc; scrutinised the ads and read the blurb for advertisers (which gives a very good sense of the market the magazine is aiming at). Once I’ve done my homework and written the article or feature, I’ve sent it off on spec. However, these days, it is more and more the case that editors want pitch letters so I’d be interested to know if any of you writers out there have developed a perfect pitch?

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