Hello, Slate Plus members! I’m writing this on my first day as a Slate senior editor. (Readers of the Slate Book Review might know me from the essays I’ve been writing about children’s books.) I’ve joined the magazine to focus on Slate Plus content—everything from the Slate Academy podcasts (just wait till you see what we’ve got planned there) to the behind-the-scenes features to some frankly awesome stuff I can’t tell you about yet. You’re supporting Slate, and my goal is to give you your money’s worth and then some.
I’ve arrived at a moment of celebration for Slate Plus. We recently signed up our 10,000th member—a big milestone. Your support is helping us build a sounder, more sustainable business model, and thereby a better magazine. Thanks to you we’re trying new things, investing in deeply reported longform, and becoming more secure in a rapidly shifting media industry.
So we want to thank you, to acknowledge your increasingly important stake in the magazine, and to take advantage of your brains. Which is to say: We want you to write for us.
Here’s how this inaugural members-only pitch slam will work:
Before you get started, here’s some advice on how to pitch Slate from the people who’ve seen more #slatepitches than you can imagine.
Dan Kois, culture editor: Slate’s specialty is the argument—so your pitch should foreground the argument you want to make. And it always helps to show us how the piece might fit into the magazine, for example by suggesting which rubric or blog (Culturebox? A Fine Whine? Behold?) it might run in.
John Swansburg, deputy editor: When I get a pitch from a writer I haven't worked with before, I'm evaluating the idea and whether it will inform, delight, and surprise Slate readers, but I'm also using the pitch itself—which should be concise, smart, witty, and well-argued—to gauge whether the pitcher can throw a strike.
Chad Lorenz, news editor: We always want pieces with timely news pegs, but a pitch about a random subject can work if it’s interesting enough.
Forrest Wickman, senior editor: The best pitches are surprising, counterintuitive, or unexpected. It’s a good idea to Google your idea, to make sure that other publications (or writers for Slate) haven’t done it already.
And one from me: A great Slate pitch may or may not be a #slatepitch in the “Everything You Know About [Thing] Is Wrong” sense.
Thanks for your support—and pitchers, start your windups!
*Update, Aug. 10, 2015: Submissions for the Slate pitch slam are now closed. Slate editors are working with members on some of these stories now, and we’ll be sure to let Plus members know when the stories appear on Slate. Thanks for pitching!