I feel like such an idiot. After months of researching various magazines, I pitched an article idea to the one magazine I did not read several back issues of-- and they just happen to have printed an article on a very similar topic back in December!
I have a few ideas as to how I can respond back to the editor without making it obvious I erred in my due diligence as a freelance writer to know the publication before pitching. If you have another idea, please add it to this list. I am so mad at myself as I have several other article ideas which may be suitable for this particular magazine, but I fear I have now lost credibility with the editor
If a red flag pops up in your mind regarding any of my proposed solutions, please let me know! On the other hand, if one solution has worked for you or you believe it would be my best option, express that as well.
To get more specific, the article idea I pitched was in regard to running a feature piece covering the specifc topic of diagnosing and managing food intolerance
. In my query, I referenced my children's digestive disorder-- one that prevents them from properly digesting both sugar and starch. My hope was to bring awareness to this type of food intolerance as it is rarely mentioned in any consumer reference regarding food allergies or intolerance in children. The article the magazine had recently published focused primarily on food allergies, only referenced food intolerance briefly and did not mention genetic enzyme deficiencies or the fact some children can be intolerance to starch in addition to gluten. Since I did not realize they had published the article, I failed to reference it in my original query, thus failing to mention how this article would be a wonderful follow-up article which could also include simple recipes or tips on approaching the child's pediatrician when a food intolerance is suspected.
My thought in "saving face" in order from least favorite to ideal:
1) Ignoring the editor's response and send a new query covering a different topic, in hopes she forgets my error (and my name from the previous pitch).
2) Pretend I had read the article and only erred in not referencing it in my query, all the while making the argument that my article idea is very different from the one they had already published.
3) Be completely honest, and apologize for overlooking that particular issue while I was researching publications where I felt this article would fit best. Praise the magazine and mention I had been an avid reader for many years when I first became a parent, and know how important this magazine is to other parents during the first years of their children's lives. Admit, I have slacked in keeping up in my reading since my children have grown, and let her know I have several other article topics that do not mimick recent topics and that I will be contacting her again in the near future once I complete my research. Pitch the article to a different publication after making sure they have not already published something on food intolerance or allergies in the past 6 months.
4) Admit I had overlookied that particular article and offer to change the slant a bit, listing action items for parents to do after discovering their child has food intolerance or allergies, such as batch baking specialty foods, communicating with teachers or day care providers regarding the intolerance, and recipes geared toward particular food intolerance such as dairy-free, sucrose-free, starch-free and gluten-free meals and snacks.
If you have experienced this grave error while pitching to an editor, were you able to save face using a different approach?
Any comments or suggestions would be helpful
BTW-- I am on my way to the library this moment to check out the last 6 issues of this magazine and to read it very carefully before sending out another query to this editor