Well look at you, you freelancing rockstar! Not only did you get your pitch accepted, but now you’ve got three different people who want your article. How do you navigate the tricky waters of having multiple pitches accepted, especially when you don’t want to burn bridges and lose possible pitching sources in the future?
Well first off, the pros would say, don’t pitch to multiple people at once. Pitch once, wait for a rejection, follow up, and if they don’t want it to pitch elsewhere. But we’re starving beginners. We don’t have time to wait 3 weeks to 3 months to see if a query will be accepted. And if you have a stellar article and you know that response rates for editors are slim, wouldn’t it benefit you to play the odds?
Yes and no. I think it’s all about how you respond to the second yes. I mean, there is no guarantee you will get your pitch accepted twice, let alone once. But for the sake of argument, let’s say that’s just what happened. I’ve had to deal with this situation twice already because I sent my pitches to everyone. It’s a possibility and something you should be prepared to deal with.
When you get accepted by competing markets:
Competing markets would be any magazines or websites that publish the same kind of content. Say you have an article about makeup and you want to feature it at Bustle, but also pitch it to XO, and Giggles. Those are all competing markets because they deal with women, lifestyle, fashion, and DIYs.
Go with the first.
No matter what, whoever said yes, unless you get two offers on the same day (hah!) you need to commit to the first editor that reached out. If you agreed to write an article but a second editor says they want you too and will give you more money, it’s in poor taste to just leave your first gig high and dry. And chances are they won’t ever let you write for them again.
Leave the Door Open.
Don’t downright refuse the second offer. When I honestly explained that I had pitched an article to two different places and was already committed to one of them, I apologized for seeming unprofessional, and offered to A) retool the article after it was published, and B) pitch a different article. And both of those offers were accepted. I don’t think it’s going to work every time. I think some editors will say thank you no, but be honest and keep the connection.
Look at the Submission Guidelines.
This will be your best asset when negotiating and pitching to multiple places. Most submission guidelines state (or at least they should) when to expect an answer. You’ll usually read something like this:
“Due to the huge number of queries we receive because we are so popular and EVERYONE is pitching to us and we’re not superman, and our poor staff can only go through so many submissions a day and so forth, we won’t be able to respond to all submissions. If you don’t hear from us within (x amount of time) we are not interested.”
Or something like that.
Check out those submission guidelines. I had a pitch accepted and 2 months later it was accepted by another website. The article was already live on the other site and I politely pointed out the to editor that due to the fact that I hadn’t heard from them in the X amount of days they had said on their website, I pitched my article elsewhere.
Most importantly just be direct and try whatever tactics you can to keep those connections and doorways open. The more pitches you put out, the more that will possibly get accepted, the more money you get at the end of the day.