How do you get published in the New York Times? That’s a question I never even thought to ask years ago. But since I went out on a ledge and actually pitched them, did the hard work of learning about how it works and actually landed THREE pieces (here’s one: “Women, Do We Need an Intervention?”) in the Times, I decided I want to let others in on the secrets of making it happen for them.
Most people never dream of doing it. Most writers feel like that’s for the “big-timers.” Not true, my friend. Today, I’m going to give a few tips on how to make it happen for you and then you’ll have the opportunity to really dig in with this amazing resource I created just for you!
Pitching the New York Times
It all starts with the art of the pitch. Do you know how to write a good freelance pitch? It’s an absolute MUST if you plan to pitch the Times, the most famous newspaper in the entire world! But don’t be intimidated — we can do this together.
Here are the basic elements of a good pitch:
- Solid & enticing subject line that begins with “Freelance pitch: XXXXX”
- Personal opening (Hi Jessica…)
- Powerful & interesting first sentence that encapsulates your thesis
- 1-2 short paragraphs containing angle, evidence and purpose of the piece
- 1 line showcasing why you are the right person to write this right now.
- Sign off with 2 links to your recent work.
That’s the simple version and this can work for you. If you don’t have any great work to share in the sign off — no sweat. Just don’t add it! They will ask if they want it and honestly, editors are not looking for super experienced writers with major credentials. They are looking for the best stories.
What are New York Times Editors Seeking?
Like all editors, Times editors are seeking great stories and writing. There are tons of different sections you can pitch and each one has it’s own special vibe. Every person has their own unique story and angle, thus we all have an opportunity to shine!
Editors are seeking unique angles, interesting & relatable stories, personal stories with cultural themes, heterodox takes on major trends, and fascinating stories with universal appeal.
The best way figure out what they want? Read what they have! Head over to the Times website and spend time pouring over the sections you love to see what editors have picked up from freelancers in the past. That’s how you’ll know if you’re on the right track.
Like most newspapers (and you an use all these tips for other spots too!), they have sections on food, fashion, travel, art, entertainment, politics and more. There are dozens of different ways to approach the Times. It’s just a matter of nicheing down the section you hope to pitch and beginning to understand how they think about that section for their readers.
An Exercise to Prepare to Pitch the New York Times
To get your brain warmed up, let’s head over to a section in the Times. Whatever one you want. Scroll through the last couple of months and select 3-4 headlines or stories you want to pour over. Grab the headlines and links and then actually read them all the way through.
Now, consider what ideas you have rumbling around in your head. How can you take one of those ideas and adapt it in an approach or angle like the way you see it done in these stories you’ve selected? Can you sum up your idea like they do in the first sentence or two of those pieces?
Learn how do mold your ideas to the structure of the Times pieces. When you read the pieces, you’ll see what they really push in terms of angle. How can you create a pitch that does something similar? Chances are you’ll be reaching out to the same editor!
Editors at the New York Times
My rule of thumb in pitching? Never pitch to a generic submissions email address. You have got to go digging to find the email addresses of specific section editors. It’s not always easy, but the time is worth it if you ever want your pitch to see the light of day.
How can you find them? Google searches, Linked In, Twitter, all the things…there are ways to find these guys. I got tired of the searching so I compiled a full list of section editors, pitching guidelines and their email addresses in one place.
It’s also where I teach you how to really dig into the Times and have a genuine shot at getting published there. In my mini-course, “Secrets to Getting Published at the New York Times,” you’ll learn:
- Top tactics and strategies for coming up with sell-able ideas
- REAL NYT pitches that sold as examples
- A full list of updated section editor names and email contacts
- Examples and inspiration of actual pieces that sold inside a variety of NYT sections
It’s really a smash and totally worth it if you have any desire to move in this direction! I have made it totally affordable and easy to use, PLUS you get all the notes and all the things with it.
Skip the work and get the good stuff by purchasing this course and getting on your way to getting published in the New York Times!