At the May 11, 2013 symposium, Michael Defreitas gave a great talk about selling stories to international markets.
Among his tips:
Query someone down the list on the masthead first to introduce yourself and enquire about querying procedures. If that doesn’t get a response then try the next person up the masthead until you get to the editor. I never query the editor first unless the guidelines say to do so. I usually pick one of the backup editors. Address the query to that person even if the e-mail address is info@…
Put a grabber title of no more than four words in the subject line of your e-mail. Not cute, but punchy. Remember that foreign editors don’t think the same way as North American editors. They may not understand cute. Assume that most foreign editors are more businesslike than NA editors regardless if it’s true or not.
Never use one of those 30-word sign-offs used by many writers. The ones listing accomplishments as authors, writers, photographers, bloggers, websites, rocket scientists and all the awards you have won for the last ten years. This just uses up words and is meaningless fluff to most editors. Remember that editors are only interested in two things; your idea and your ability to deliver the story on time.
As writers,our biggest hurdle with foreign and NA publications is good photo coverage. This is a major concern for most writers because most don’t take enough photos to get magazine-type coverage. Perhaps this is because most NA travel writers work for newspapers or blogs where there is less emphasis on good photography coverage. While newspapers use up to three photos, NA and foreign magazines will typically use 12 or more images with their stories. You may be able to get around this when pitching a North American story because you can always get extra image coverage from the CVBs/DMOs.
Relive the hour with Michael Defreitas by clicking on the the audio and pdf pages, and listen while reading the presentation. (Please give the audio 2 minutes to load.)