Pitching & Portfolio Tips for (former BGN & other) writers feeling adrift post FanCon fuckery

Tanya DePass
Apr 24, 2018 · 4 min read

Collation of twitter thread put up during the FanCon fallout.

Some tips for anyone who needs a spot to show their work and have a writing portfolio. If you have your own site, create a page where you can list your articles, videos, whatever it is you’ve created.

If your work resides on a site where you cannot access the CMS (content management system) download copies of your work immediately. Especially if you’ve stepped away from that site. If you don’t have a site, or don’t have the emotional energy to do this right now? Create an account at a space like journoportfolio it’s $5 a month to have a portfolio space for your writing.

ETA: A Change from the initial twitter thread. Here are the features of JournoPortfolio: https://www.journoportfolio.com/features/ Mine is tanyadepass.journoportfolio if you want to see it. You can also create a contact form, add subscription options (say if you don’t have a Patreon) and upload documents & images directly.

If uploading to your own site, make sure everything is organised, that folks can find things by category (like all your tv, movie or gaming articles in one section), or by pub or by most recent. If you pitch and include where to see your other work, it needs to be laid out easily, relevant articles, or previous work related to your pitch should be easy findable. Journo portfolio does let you sort in some order. If you’ve written a lot, most current/relevant pieces should be at the top & easy to find. I’ve put older things under a Read More.

This may sound basic, but have an easy to spot contact method on your site. Either a brief form (embedded Google doc or plug in for the site) or an email your comfortable having on your bio,etc. Have a piece you’re proud of or that performed really well? Consider highlighting it as a hey, this is something I’m proud of, if you like it? Let’s talk kind of display piece.

If you haven’t pitched very much or are worried about pitching to new outlets, it’s ok! Be succinct, explain why you are interested in X topic, include a link to prior work on similar topics. Important, do not write a whole article and send it. That’s not a pitch & no ones looking for a whole piece at that time. Again basic thing; but I have seen people not know this.

You are checking out the site your pitching as much as they are checking you out as a writer. Make sure the site is a fit for what you want to write. See who to contact for (subject) if it’s a bigger site. If a site doesn’t take your pitch, it’s not personal. Maybe the topic or timing doesn’t work for them at that moment. Again, you can’t take it personal. This is business.

If they do take your pitch, congrats! Now, ask and confirm in email what the timeline is; have a short bio ready, and image to use for by-lines. Not all pubs will use a pic but many have a short bio (100–250 words usually). Work out payment details. Have a W-9 (or Int’l tax form) ready or pre-filled & saved. Create invoice templates if they don’t use their own system. Usual payment cycle is net 30 days after publication.

Additional tips from Twitter:

Jolantru: Have a contact page for people to reach you. Create a bibliography of published works. If you can, include positive feedback from clients or people whom you work with.

BrichibiTweets: Also: authors, have a part on your site that has reviews of your book. Writers who do panels and go to conventions: have your schedule up that shows where you’re going, and if possible, footage of your panel(s) and descriptions of what they’re about

A last note, though this is not writing advice per se.

Do not work for free, don’t write for exposure. Especially in the aftermath of leaving a space like BGN. No brand is worth the prestige of free labor. Make Fuck You, Pay Me your motto. Know your worth y’all. Know that you can pitch & build a portfolio. It will take time, effort & work but it will happen. No one should be out here worried about being blacklisted. No one

In short, this should be your motto and your way of doing business

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