Coffee Break: Selling Yourself

Between a last-second edit test, a quick trip to PA, and a full day holding poses for a portrait artist, I. am. wiped. So I hope you’ll forgive me for relying on an easy-as-pie Coffee Break post so early in the week.

This one was actually inspired by a conversation taking place over at the mediabistro bulletin boards, on how different pitching tactics have different success rates.

The original poster mentions that he gets the best response from telephone pitches, followed by face-to-face pitches. Only a small amount of his e-mail queries have led to something more, and he’s had no success with either Twitter, LinkedIn, or his blog.

While the numbers are disappointing for those of us who hide behind our computers (um, me), it makes complete sense. People are more likely to respond well to you if some sort of personal connection is made. The web — while a great jumping-off point — can often be seen as too impersonal. And it doesn’t help that the web makes it easier to slack off when it comes to professionalism and polish.

Personally, I have a decent response rate from e-mail queries, have landed one cool gig via a networking event, and have received some great job leads through those I’ve met through both Twitter and Freelancedom. (I’ve been too terrified to try cold calling anyone.) I’d love to hear about what’s been working for you.


  1. I’m scared to cold call anyone, too. I don’t know anyone who’s had much success as a freelancer doing that, though! I just think about how much I disliked getting cold calls as a newspaper reporter; I usually wasn’t prepared to get a story pitch from someone and sometimes I was on deadline and cranky. 🙂 It’s nice to give someone some warning, I think. But hey, I guess you gotta do whatever works for you! I tend to rely on a combination of emails and snail mails for queries and inquiries. And follow-up emails.

  2. I’m with you, Jennifer. I always hated receiving unexpected calls from authors back when I was working in book publishing, just because it made me feel flustered and unprepared. I’d often allow calls to go to vm so that I could listen and then prepare the necessary info before calling back.

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