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10 Tips on How to Write a Pitch

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Pitching ain’t easy. Here are some tips to help you put your best foot forward when it comes to sending in a pitch, direct from the Tuts+ editorial team.

1. We need to know two things: who are you, and what is the story?

Come prepared, and make me want to read or learn from you! Beyond that, I want some indication that you’ve taken the format of my publication and needs of my audience into consideration when crafting your pitch.
– Jackson Couse, Tuts+ Photography Editor

2. Be realistic about what you’re equipped to write about, and go with your strongest suit.

When a new author contacts me, I first ask them about their technical background to get a better idea of what they could write about. It’s important to know if someone is actually qualified to write about a particular topic, because it happens fairly often that an author wants to write about a subject that they just started to learn about.
– Bart Jacobs, Tuts+ Mobile Development Editor

3. We’re looking for skill, experience and enthusiasm, not a fully finished piece of work.

Receiving a pitch, I’m mostly looking for angle, not detail. Where is this going to go? That’s the big question. If you need to, give me detail to show the direction you’re taking. Otherwise, keep it high-level. We can dig into the details if I ask you for them.
– Jackson Couse, Tuts+ Photography Editor

The specific topic you pitch isn’t actually that important; I might have to pass on it for being too close to something we’ve currently got in the works, or too similar to something we’ve published in the past. What I look for is your ability to come up with ideas that are in line with what we publish.
– Michael James Williams, Tuts+ Game Development Editor

4. That said, put thought and care into your pitch.

It’s always best when a pitch contains a tutorial or course concept that you’ve given some thought to, rather than simply approaching us with a general request to contribute.
– David Appleyard, Tuts+ Editorial Team Manager

5. You’ve got to want it.

Experience and attention to detail are important, but are something that can be refined over time (at least when it comes to writing). It’s hard for me to imagine a person with no passion wanting to write for such a large audience.
– Tom McFarlin, Tuts+ Web Development Editor

6. Do your research, and learn about the site or publication.

I come across a number of pitches from people who don’t seem to have a good understanding of our course content here at Tuts+. It helps if you have a look around at what content is already on the site you’re pitching for and how it’s currently structured. If you can complement existing content or fill an obvious gap you’ll have a greater chance for a successful pitch.
– Amanda Neumann, Tuts+ Code Courses Editor

7. Know your audience.

Explain what you want to teach, not just what you’ll create, and what steps you’ll go through. Try to consider what the learning outcome should be from a tutorial or course, then work backwards so that it’s effectively covered in your pitch. Offer a structure for what you’re proposing. A bulleted list of the major parts of your tutorial or course, with some accompanying explanation, is a good start. Show that you can logically break down a tutorial or course into chunks.
– David Appleyard, Tuts+ Editorial Team Manager

A good pitch shows what techniques the student will learn, how they will learn them (the methodology) and what the end results would be. You need to showand tell.
– Neil Pearce, Tuts+ Courses Editor

8. Find a good editor. We’re here to help.

Knowing a little about the editor’s background (don’t be creepy) can help you understand where they are coming from and what they’re looking for. Not every editor is going to see things your way, and that’s just the good editors. Find an editor who will appreciate your style. If you find five editors who like your style, you’ll be set for work.
– Jackson Couse, Tuts+ Photography Editor

9. Before you hit ‘send’, check everything you’ve written, just in case.

Spelling and grammar are paramount. The care you put into these for your pitch should be the same as you’d apply to your finished article.
– David Appleyard, Tuts+ Editorial Manager

10. Life experience matters, and is reflected in your work.

If you want to write, develop your tastes and interests. Have some experiences. Do interesting things and talk to interesting people. Notice the world. Have an opinion and care about some people and things. Substance matters a whole lots more than style. It’s easy to write when you have something to say.
– Jackson Couse, Tuts+ Photography Editor

We’re always on the lookout for new instructors, so if you’d like to teach your skills on Tuts+, head on over to our Write for Us page. 

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