Agatha French is a staff writer in books at the Los Angeles Times. She has worked as an editor for a number of literary journals and magazines, including the Los Angeles Review of Books. She is also a fiction writer, reviewer, and essayist whose work has appeared in Gigantic Magazine, Nano Fiction, Everyday Genius, and Burrow Press Review, among others. She has been deputy editor of the CUNY Writers’ Institute literary journal, Coda Quarterly, and guest fiction editor for Bridge Eight Magazine. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Bennington College.
Journalism – The Practice of Pitching
As freelance writers, you have the opportunity to follow the leads that most ignite your curiosity, the space to become deeply invested in the stories you write, and the freedom to cover a diverse range of topics. Wherever your interests range, a piece is possible – you just have to pitch it. Luckily, pitching doesn’t have to be an art, it can be a practice. We’ll look at two successful pitches that I sold as a freelancer – as well as two rejections – to discover what works and what rookie mistakes to avoid. What’s a news peg and do you need one? How do you tell the difference between a topic and a story? What do editors want? Once we’ve unpacked what makes a compelling pitch, we’ll hunt for story ideas, narrow down the material, and practice writing pitches of our own. Leave with a pitch read-to-roll, as a well as a bank of story ideas in-progress.