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Mutual back-scratching

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Mutual Back-Scratching

I met with an editor this week. For two days each week, he edits a travel publication which I write for (hence the meeting); additional time is spent on another regular client and, otherwise, he’s a freelancer like me. Realising this, I offered – sincerely – to share any contacts and in-the-know tips (eg publication A is looking for Asian pitches) with him if ever desired.

This seemed to go down well, unsurprisingly, and felt like a good strategy. Because without it, the meeting was weighted against me: he had everything I wanted (ie commissioning slots) and I had very little to interest him (ie top-quality, not-yet-covered ideas). Hitherto, I felt beggy and faintly desperate.

All of which might be worth bearing in mind if/when you meet, or ask to meet, freelancers like myself. No freelancer writes for every publication they want to, and every freelancer craves more and better contacts – some of which can be really hard to come by. You, most likely, will possess these contacts – whether it is just email addresses from a database or a personal relationship or knowledge of who best to pitch to.

Offer to furnish a freelancer with some useful email addresses and, very possibly, they’ll suddenly be much more amenable to your ideas; partly because that’s only polite, and partly because the best back-scratching is always mutual, and they’ll want to repay you. 

It worked for me; my meeting ended positively, with some strong hope of future commissions. Providing contacts will cost me nothing (what’s one more freelancer pitching to my editors? Hundreds do already…) and yet might already have gone some way to ensure me future, precious work.

What Richard thinks…

“Lots of releases this week with Australia deals, in case I was writing a round-up (for once, I wasn’t!). In getting right to the packages, which is all that I’d have wanted if I was, Chloe’s (which came with a personalised note) was the best.”

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