"I'll send you an invite to join Ebyline.com, so could you pitch it through that platform?"
I had pitched a new market I heard about on another writer's blog (using old-fashioned email), they liked the idea, but now I had to 'join'? I was ten kinds of confused and a bit wary. After all, we've all dealt with online sites that make you jump through hoops to write for them or pay by the click. Plus, I don't do well learning new technology. I still have a typewriter hidden away in a closet somewhere! Why, oh why couldn't I just write my article?
But, because I trusted this writer/editor I decided to follow the invite link and take the plunge. I filled out my free membership which consisted of a straightforward paragraph describing my writing experience, resume, and links to five recent articles. After that it was time to explore.
At first glance it was a basic online job board, some assignments were very specific "cover an NCAA women's soccer tnmt match at 2 p.m. Sunday in Gainesville, Fla" while others were more general "Healthy Life feature ideas". But there were several significant differences from your average writing job board.
First, I knew upfront who was looking for a writer. Their post includes the name of the market, link to the market, and editor's name. Finally, I wouldn't have to be asking myself, "Is this a real editor/market or just some wanna-be start-up that may or may not ever become reality (and pay me!)?" On the flip side, publishers have access to my resume, links to articles, etc. from my registration so there's no emailing back and forth as they try to determine if I'm the right person for the job. They can easily check out my background the minute my pitch arrives.
Second, let's talk about payment. They actually list the fee for the job. No "how much would you charge for....?" which we all know is code for "this job is going to the lowest bidder, not the best writer." And no pennies per word either. OK, I didn't see any $1/word jobs but hey...
Third, they have a magical "pitch" button. I love it! Click and there you are at an online form listing the editor's name, fee for the job, deadline, and a box for you to include your pitch. No searching for an editor's email address or sending it to some anonymous email never to be heard from again. You don't have to just pitch in reply to specific jobs listed on the board either. The pitching system includes a list of markets that are registered with Ebyline so if, for example, you have an idea for a parenting article, you can look through them for a parenting magazine and pitch to them. They also have a magical "submit" button for your finished article but I haven't used that one yet!
But the BEST thing is this platform also serves as a record keeper for you. You can visit and see exactly what you pitched to who and when, if they got back to you, deadlines. They automatically invoice the market for you. They also keep a list of all the published articles you've done through Ebyline, how much you made that year through them.
I have already been accepted for one assignment and am "in negotiations" for another. Ebyline is a new platform but I think it's one that freelancers should check out.