By C. Hope Clark
When pitching to freelance markets, you feel the need to demonstrate your prowess. After all, your query is a resume of sorts, with you proving to the other side that you have what it takes to write for them.
But what if you have not published yet?
My best suggestion for this dilemma is to write for trade magazines to collect those first clips. Why? Because they are more interested in you being an expert in a subject than being a writer.
My very first clip was an essay in an anthology about my Christmas divorce. I never stated I could write or that I’d never published before. I just wrote well and submitted. While it wasn’t a trade, it was a clip. I could call myself a writer.
Not long after, I pitched to a landscape management magazine, a trade. My degree is in agronomy, so when a landscaper came to the door of my newly constructed home, asking if he could give me an estimate for some work, I said sure. Unfortunately, he started talking to me as if I barely knew what dirt was, talking in elementary terms. I let him go on and on until finally I told him about my degree and maybe he could now talk seriously about what he could offer me. That afternoon I pitched that piece and received an acceptance in thirty minutes. I had a clip.
I pitched an article about grants for writers to Writer’s Digest. Having recently left a career with the federal government, I understood where grants were and how to apply. They not only purchased it, but reprinted it several times, paying me each time.
I moved not long after and again found myself putting sod down on a new yard, only it was three acres and required an irrigation system. I pitched TURF Magazine and did a profile on the company that installed my system, offering the pictures as well.
My youngest son struggled in college, making me gray-headed with worry. So I did a piece on where a college student could find moral support on a college campus for College Bound Teen.
I pitched a piece to a women’s business newsletter about fighting the glass ceiling and enduring an EEO case.
See? Step back from your life and note your experience. Therein lies your first clip. It’s easier than you think. Just never let them know you’ve never published before, and they can solely focus on the experience you do have.
BIO – C. Hope Clark is editor of FundsforWriters.com and a autho of The Carolina Slade Mysteries and The Edisto Island Mysteries, both published by Bell Bridge Books. www.chopeclark.com / www.fundsforwriters.com