What we’re reading: The slush pile

This Ann Friedman article in the Columbia Journalism Review highlights an experiment conducted by fiction writer David Cameron who took a story from the New Yorker gave it a new headline and pitched it to six editors to see if they would publish it.

The results?

Shockingly—okay, not at all shockingly—every single publication said no. Even The New Yorker.

CJR_logoThe article is written for freelance writers, but its warnings and advice are appropriate for PR people:

  • Cold submissions are a low priority.
  • You have no clue what you are up against (in terms of other articles that the editor is working on).
  • The editor doesn’t recognize your name (the need to build relationship is still high).
  • You sent the exact same submission to six publications (and thus didn’t customize it to any of them).
  • You didn’t have a fresh angle or timely hook.

The Slush Pile is a great reminder of the fundamentals of editorial relations: be relevant, don’t spam and build relationships.

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