“Are they worth it, or do they come back to haunt you?” she wrote.
There’s a solution to this problem — tailor your queries, and then you’re never really sending two identical pitches. And you’re free to pitch your brains out without sitting around worrying that you might be offending some editor who’s probably not going to bite anyway.
Don’t send the exact same query to multiple magazines or newspapers — instead, send different slants on the topic customized for each publication. Then you’ve differentiated your pitches, and you’re in the clear on sending simultaneous queries…and more likely to get acceptances, because each pitch is more targeted to that publication.
If by a miracle you got two hits from two different editors, you could just let hit #2 know you are writing something SIMILAR — but not identical already for bla publication, do they care? If you’ve done it right, they won’t.
The other approach is to simultaneously pitch the exact same idea, but to very different, noncompeting markets — say, a regional trade publication in the west, and a city magazine in the east. If their audiences don’t overlap, they’re never going to care.
Editors understand the speed at which news is moving these days, and I think most don’t expect you to sit on an idea for a month or two until they finally get a chance to read it.
This gets back to my basic premise about pros vs amateur writers. Professionals are never sitting around, wishing and wondering if they’re getting an assignment, while newbies can spend weeks and even months fantasizing, agonizing, wishing and hoping that some editor would get back to them. Waiting, and not sending more queries! To make a full-time living at this, you’ve got to be moving forward constantly like a shark, to be frank.
Literally the minute I send a query, I have moved on to other activities. I might well send 10 queries on the same topic in a day, to various markets.
So get out there and pitch, people! More pitching means more shots at landing an assignment.