September 6, 2017
$260 | 6 Weeks
Learn to pitch like the world’s most fearless animal with this six-week online writing course. No excuses. No mercy. No apologies. Get the work you want.
We’ll drill down into the mechanics of selling your articles and essays, from how to research markets to marketing yourself. We’ll also talk about how to overcome pitch-block, from imposter syndrome to fear of failure, and the etiquette of networking for referrals.
This new version of the course (expanded to six weeks from its original four) also incorporates lessons on the freelancing lifestyle, and establishing organizational systems that set you up for success. Decoding contracts, learning how to negotiate for better rates, managing finances intelligently, and establishing (and meeting!) income goals are all part of the course.
Suitable for emerging and experienced writers alike – in any journalistic genre – this course will push you to think about the freelancing career you want… and to start reaching for it.
NOTE: This course is primarily for writers and journalists who want to pitch essays and articles. While you may find helpful tips, it is NOT intended for writers who want to pitch a book, as that process is quite different.
Week One: The Art Of The Ask
Learn about the essential elements of an effective query and how to sell the story and yourself. Discover strategies for pushing past anxiety and fear and the importance of not taking silence, rejection, or critical feedback personally.
Assignment: Develop a pitch log. Develop an editor master list. Write and present one pitch for critique.
Week Two: Telling The Stories Only You Can
Identify your strengths and skills and articulate why you’re the best person to tell a particular story. Highlight your expertise, unusual access, and insider sources.
Assignment: Develop your strengths and skills inventory. Develop an “expertise” pitch, and sell yourself as THE single best person to tell a particular story.
Week Three: Timing Is Everything
Decode the mysteries of timing in the pitching and editorial relationships. Learn about editorial lead-times. Practice devising timely angles and discover new strategies and resources for anticipating and working with timely pegs.
Assignment: Study the editorial calendars of 10 publications and report what you learn. Submit a draft of your “year in coverage” list. Submit one new pitch or one of your revised pitches from Weeks 1 or 2.
Week Four: Opening Up New Markets
Talk about the importance and etiquette of networking, no matter where you are, and the number and variety of resources available to you. Learn how to maximize contacts and leads from networking. Discover strategies for improving your cold-pitching success rate. Learn how to read like a writer, as well as research new-to-you publications.
Assignment: Develop a current client list, an anchor client wishlist, and “dream publications” goal sheet. Develop an LOI template
Week Five: Getting Serious about Systems (aka: Treat This Like a Business)
As you start to see successes as the direct result of applying the strategies taught in this class, you’ll know it’s time to start getting serious about setting up systems that will help you manage income goals and invoices, workflow, and contacts. These are the subjects of Week 5. We’ll also talk about contracts and other legal concerns, taxes (primarily for U.S.-based freelance writers/journalists) and tools for tracking expenses that fall into deduction categories.
Assignment: Share your current invoicing system and evaluate its strengths and limitations; consider whether new system might serve you better. Test drive a new tool for invoicing or receipt management and report on outcomes. Begin using these tools if you’ve never used them before.
Week Six: Upselling, Negotiating, and Diversifying Your Income Stream
Learn about the history of freelancer fees, the current market for freelancers and the varying opinions and arguments about it, and what resources are available to identify rates at various publications. Learn about upselling your skills and services and negotiating rates.
Assignment: Develop a template for negotiating an article or project. Develop a rate card. Finalize any outstanding pitches.
I've finished the pitching course with Julie Collazo and was thrilled with it. So far I have sold, written, etc. two of the four pitches I wrote for you. They paid for the course five times over. You can quote me on that. - Irina Dumitrescu
Julie is amazing in the way she is fully present to each and every person. Her whole self -- experience, intelligence, compassion -- comes through in every interaction. It really was a super-useful course, with an amazing teacher, and I can't say enough good things about both. As a concrete indication of the usefulness of the course, I pitched a story to CivilEats midway through the course, and it was published around the time the course ended -- that alone shows the course to be worth every dollar! - Terra Brockman
Julie was a great instructor. I've already got two pitches accepted thanks to the class, one for Remezcla and another for Narratively. I have continued to find work based on the personal feedback and networking suggestions Julie provided during the course. - Anna-Catherine Brigida
I can't think of better money I've spent on my writing career than taking Julie's class!!! I loved that it wasn't just esoteric learning - Julie gave us concrete examples, specific homework, and room to share our own tricks and tips with our classmates. I pitched one of my dream outlets and landed a feature based on a pitch I workshopped in class! I honestly don't think I would have had the guts to pitch them at this stage of my writing career, but Julie's guidance and support pushed me to try. I want to hug her! - Shawnté Salabert
Julie is patient, understanding and very helpful. She goes beyond the call of duty to give us all time, guidance and tips throughout. Very worthwhile! I found [the lessons] insightful and helpful - and I've been writing for a long time! This class was immensely helpful to me. - Mary Luz Mejia
I was in your Honey Badger class earlier this year and wanted to say thanks! My essay about rediscovering my horse-courage is in the January issue of Horse Illustrated, my first national publication and a magazine I've been thumbing through and poring over since childhood. Your advice to snip my original idea into a couple of more manageable pieces was perfect. - Stacey McKenna
I was very happy with the class content. It was full of extremely useful information that I will apply beyond the class. Julie is a fantastic teacher who supports her students, provides in-depth feedback, and is willing to go above and beyond. - Nicole Bixler
Julie is kind and enthusiastic. Her positivity and organization have been a model for me in developing my own career and individual projects. - Kristin Fuhrmann SimmonsI feel very lucky to have had Julie as a course instructor. She brings a wealth of experience, skill, patience and a generous spirit to her work. Thanks to her efforts exciting opportunities opened up and I found myself closer to reaching my goals than I thought possible. - Karen Dion
Julie is excellent. Very open, willing to share, and full of useful advice. - Heather TuckerJulie is a rare find, a truly supportive and incredibly knowledgeable person who share all of her experiences with honesty and compassion. I would take any class taught by Julie. - Alice Driver
Julie was awesome. I appreciated her detailed responses to the questions we had, and she was very encouraging while being realistic. I felt it was a really good value. - Dena Dyer
I loved how thoroughly the class covered all aspects of the pitching process. Julie was lovely and very thorough with her feedback. She routinely went above and beyond what was expected of her. - Poornima Apte
Julie was an amazing teacher. SO thorough in her responses, usually very quick, super encouraging, and full of helpful information and encouragement. - Rebecca Wade
This is the best online writing course I've taken. Julie was amazing! Very knowledgeable, responsive and helpful. Her feedback and responses on assignments/discussions was invaluable and the best part of the course. So, thank you! - Renee Fabian
I appreciated how open Julie was with her knowledge -- and that the assignments were something we could use in real life. I honestly didn't want the class to end! Julie was amazing. She gave such personalized and thoughtful answers to all of our questions. ?A+! - Susan Shain
Julie was fantastic and really went above and beyond to help establish new connections, critique our pitches and share her expertise. - Kelly Burch
What’s with the goofy name?
We’re honoring the animal named most fearless by the Guinness Book Of World Records – and also this hilarious 2011 viral video by Randall (warning: explicit language). In 2015, scientists discovered why honey badgers muscle through life so fiercely: they’re resistant to venom… another good trait to emulate for freelancers!
Pitching can be stressful. We hope our tribute to the Honey Badger reminds you to be tenacious – and also to smile a little too.
Can I travel during class?
Students – and the instructors – frequently travel during the course. The lessons and discussions remain online, and late submissions are welcome by special arrangement throughout the four-week period. The decision should hinge upon your work habits: can you work and focus well on the road? Will you have the discipline to make up assignments back home?
What time is the course?
Taught online, Pitch Like A Honey Badger allows students to participate at their convenience. You needn’t be online at a particular time or on a particular day: everything is waiting for you when you’re ready.
Is the course suitable for experienced writers?
Absolutely. Full-time journalists and professionals jumping genres or reviving skill-sets have taken the class (including former staffers for Shape, The Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal).
Can unpublished or emerging writers benefit from this workshop?
Yes. Wherever you are on the ladder, we can help you climb higher.
How much time does it take?
The time commitment varies, of course, but students seem to average 30-60 minutes for the lectures and at least 60-90 for the assignments. Ambitious readers can delve deep via links and articles: some study is self-guided and entirely optional.
What sort of success can I expect?
Students have published in outlets from Sunset to National Geographic Traveler and The New York Times. One had to pause, then restart the class later, because she landed so much work off the first pitches she ever sent. Another won travel-writing’s most prestigious prize, the Lowell Thomas.
But placement depends on timing, connections and marketing savvy, as much as talent. I work to boost each student up a few ladder rungs from where he or she began. For some, that’s publishing a first clip, for others breaking into A-list publications.
I live outside the U.S. Is this a problem?
The class is entirely online with no fixed hours. All you need is a word-processing program, Internet access, a browser and a credit card. A recent session included students from Ireland, Scotland, Prague, India and New Zealand, as well as across North America; such a mix really invigorates the class.
I’m not sure I want to publish…
This is not the class for you, then.
Will this course help a blogger?
Yes, if you’re eager to sell work to the mainstream media. You’re welcome to work on letters negotiating ads, sponsorships, ambassadorships or fundraising, but the course material won’t focus on these topics.
What stops other writers from stealing my ideas?
The world teems with story concepts and writers often stumble across the same ones: overlap tends to be coincidence, not theft. But this workshop will inoculate you, by focusing on the stories you’re most suited to tell, and digging deep for original angles, access and sources to make them shine. Between your unique take – and the 10,000-odd English-language publications worldwide – there’s room for students to explore the same topics, working together, rather than at odds.
Will other students steal my contacts and outlets?
No. We encourage people to pool intel, as a rising tide lifts all boats. But you’re under no obligation to divulge publication details or editors’ emails, if that doesn’t feel comfortable.
What if I have another question?
Mark Dahlby can answer any queries (firstname.lastname@example.org).