The 5 Pitching Mistakes Our Editors Want You To Avoid
Interested in writing for Narratively? Here’s how to make sure your story ideas are pitch-perfect.
We read a lot of submissions at Narratively. Some hit the nail on the head from the beginning, many are great story ideas but not quite right for us (i.e. super short personal essays, interesting profiles lacking twists and turns, snarky hot takes) and, naturally, a few simply miss the mark. In talking internally about the kinds of pitches we receive, we realized we were seeing the same mistakes over and over again. So we want to take a few minutes to show writers what we do (and don’t) look for in a story pitch. This isn’t meant to shame or scold by any means. Most of us on Team Narratively are also writers ourselves and we have spent a lot of time learning how to pitch stories, experiencing our own share of misfires along the way! We hope this constructive feedback will be helpful when you’re pitching us — or any publication — in the future. Read on for five mistakes we’ve noticed people make repeatedly, and our advice for what you can do instead to improve your approach. Please shout with any questions in the comments.
1. Make it crystal clear that you read Narratively and know why your story would fit in.
Like all publications, what we publish is very specific to us, which makes it very obvious when submitters aren’t actually reading our site to find out what exactly that is. When pitching, please make it apparent that you’ve read our site and that your idea feels like the kind of story you could imagine us publishing. For instance, mention a piece of ours that you loved, or reference one of our signature sections. (You can absolutely get it wrong, but if you’re pitching us a 500-word fiction piece, well, we know you haven’t spent much time on Narratively!) It’s not only helpful to us, but to you, too, because pitching a story idea to a publication that would likely never consider it is a waste of your time.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial