Pitching a short story?

Posted: January 4, 2011 in short stories
Tags: , , , , ,

I was over at the womagwriters site this morning (do pay a visit when you have a free moment) and found out there that Jill Finlay who deals with fiction at The Weekly News is only accepting email submissions, whereas it used to be that both were acceptable.

This is a huge leap into the 21st century and of course I’m pleased. Especially as it’s one of my new short story targets this year.

But it begged the question in my mind (and I’ve put it in a comment there) as to why we don’t pitch short stories in the same way that we pitch article ideas to editors of magazines and newspapers. In other words, not sending the whole thing but just the offer.

I know the editor needs to read the complete story. But as a first move, they could have the opening paragraphs and the gist of the story (plus ending) just as with an article pitch. Even a sentence as to why this fits their guidelines. We do something similar with novels already.

Then the happy editor could invite us to send the whole story if she liked the opening, or email back a cryptic comment in 30 seconds flat along the lines of: “Sorry, no, we don’t like drugs in our stories” or “Try changing this to the first person and I’d be interested.”

The editor would save oodles of time and we’d save the trees, get a reason for any refusal, and maybe even a tentative sale that was nearer to “definite” than it would otherwise be. They could still request a paper copy at this stage, of course.

There has to be something I’ve forgotten, or they’d all be doing it. Now where are the up-to-date guidelines for TWN…

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