How To Pitch

by Alexandra Finkel

Hi there! Are you interested in writing for Bustle?

Great! We're excited to have you.

There are a few things you'll need to know before you pitch us, so first you'll need to hear a little #realtalk: We get dozens of pitches and submissions daily, and although some of them are great, many are... not so great. How do you get our attention and maximize your chance of getting published on Bustle? So glad you asked.

Here's a handy list of DOs and DON'Ts, which should answer most of your questions:

DO use the email address rather than emailing a specific editor. Our editors get hundreds of emails daily and are super-busy. Keeping that in mind...

DO think about whom you're addressing. Personally, I like to receive an email addressed to "Hi Bustle," but that's not mandatory. If you want to address your note to a specific editor who runs the section in which your pitch fits, go for it, but please check the spelling of her name (for instance, my last name is "FINKEL" not "FINKLE"), and make sure you've found the correct section editor.

DO use a subject line that makes sense (i.e. "PITCH: A Super-Creative Headline" or "SUBMISSION: Something That Will Get My Attention"). Bonus: Try not to sound like a PR person.

DO be familiar with Bustle. Read the site and get a feel for our style, tone, and the types of stories we do before sending any pitches our way. Things about delicious cheese, feminism, American Girl dolls, etc. are all good places to start. We're especially looking for personal essays, original reporting, creative pieces, and commentary/editorials from a unique perspective.

DO tell me a little bit about yourself before getting to your pitch. For example, are you in college? Are you a professional freelance writer? Where else have you been published? Don't make us have to Google you.

DON'T pitch something we've done before. Use the search function on our site. Use Google to be double-sure. Be 100 percent positive we didn't already publish your idea.

DON'T pitch something you've already written for another site. Yes, really.

DON'T pitch something that is so clearly not Bustle. Examples include: "How To Get Flat Abs," "10 of the Best Chicken Cookbooks for 2014," etc.

DO explain why your pitch is a good fit for Bustle. Show that you know what we like and we'll like you a lot!

DO show your personality. We're all about individual voices here so it's okay to be yourself (even if that means including abbrevs and emojis).

DON'T worry about length. A paragraph would suffice, or you can send along a full draft of a piece for an editor to consider — as long as it hasn't been published elsewhere. (See a theme here?)

DO include a few links to your previous work as well as your résumé (less necessary if you are an established writer). Do not attach them.

DON'T give me a deadline to reply. Not cool. Sometimes we'll get back to you in a few hours. Or it could take days. If you haven't heard back after a week, feel free to send a follow-up email.

DO read and reread your email for grammar, spelling, and punctuation. If your email is full of typos and misspellings, we're probably not going to accept your pitch.

So, get to it! And hit me up on Twitter @alexandra_rose if you have any questions!

Good talk.

Images: Wikimedia Commons; Gifsfln/Tumblr; Giphy