You Ask, I Answer: What If I Don’t Have Relevant Clips?
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Alyssa asks: What if the magazine you’re querying asks for clips specific to that niche, and you’ve only written for other types of publications? For example, you’re trying to pitch a love and relationship piece and you’ve written mostly about news and politics? I know that not all publications ask for clips specific to their niche, but I have come across it… and am wondering whether I’m supposed to just write something on my blog on that topic and use that coupled with something else published? Or could I just use an older clip and explain that I have not yet written about X topic but am experienced in Y and read the magazine religiously?
Good question! I’m a big fan of shooting high and using what you have, instead of holding off on a pitch until you have the exact “right” clips. So if you want to write a relationship story and all your clips are politics-related, I would wow the editor with a stellar pitch that shows you know the market and then send a few of my best politics-related samples. Clips show more than that you can write on a certain topic — they show that you know how to write for publication, period. So even if your clips are not relevant to the topic you’re pitching, paired with a great query they do have impact.
I hope that helps! [lf]