Got some exciting news last week -- we over at xoVain got budget approval to up our posts to eight per day. While, in a perfect world that would mean three more posts from me *duh*, I can barely remember to put on clean underwear everyday, let alone work more. That's why I need your help.
A mere nine months ago, I was simply an xoJane reader. I had never even registered for Disqus, or emailed Emily to tell her how pretty she is, or followed any of the writers on Instagram or Twitter -- fuck, I didn’t even have a Twitter back then (@AnnieK, check it). I kind of felt like I had no place applying to be the new beauty director -- which obviously I didn’t get. (Shout out to Gala! Where you at, girl? Are you there?)
I mean, there was also the fact that I was a total nobody with no beauty and little writing experience who spent most days waking up, smoking pot, masturbating, eating toast, thrifting, and smoking pot. I was doing nothing at all. No thing -- whoa. See, now I’m all into words ‘n shit! I’ve been thinking about getting one of those Word-of-the-Day calendars so that I can sound smart in my articles.
Then Jane was all, “Ta-Da New Beauties!” and I was all, “Hold up, Pratt. Team? So, more than one? You couldn’t squeeze me in there after I pitched that brilliant eyebrow mascara article where I mentioned banana pudding twice unintentionally?” So I registered for Disqus and my first comment was this:
Now I’m all, “Fuck da 17 h8rs,” because Olivia or Corynne or whoever liked my next submission and now I’m here writing this. (Also the beauty-brilliant Heatherette and Alison Freer were super encouraging and sweet in those comments. And Heatherette reads xoVain and it feels nice.)
It’s like a rags-to-riches story if you replace “rags” with “stuck-in-Austin-doin’-the-same-ol’-shit-every-night-not-sure-what-I’m-going-to-do-with-my-life” and “riches” to “I-think-I-can-afford-this-juice-cleanse-if-I-don’t-buy-groceries-that-week-oh-wait-that-works-out-perfectly-oh-shit-is-this-train-going-Uptown?”
So what I’m saying is that you should pitch to us. We don’t care if you’re a total scrub that’s never been published or whatever. Nine months ago I had a self-published (like, Xerox-ed) zine -- “a,” because we released ONE issue despite our lofty future goals -- called Wet Mattress in which I wrote about going to some shitty psychedelic show in L.A. where I gave a 14-year-old a suuuuper weird boner and about what to do if you get cum in your eye. So basically, I really don’t care if you’ve been in the NYT or not.
Email your pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org and at the beginning of your subject line put "STORY PITCH" so that it doesn't get lost in the G-abyss. I can’t speak for Marci personally, but here’s what’s going to make me email you back if you do decide to pitch:
- Write how you would talk. I have to read lots of really shitty press releases, I don’t want that kind of writing on the site. One of Mandy’s best pieces of advice to me (writing-wise), was to pretend that I’m drafting an email to one of my close friends. Be conversational.
- Funny helps, too. Without cheese, I hate cheese unless it’s that white kind on a $14 beet salad or nachos, and even then it kind of gets coagulated and stupid. Also, sending in a full article, rather than just ideas, would really help give me a sense of whether or not you’d work on the site.
- Send excellent photos. I have a ridiculously long list of pointers I email out to possible contributors, but if you can impress me right off the bat with some photo sex, please do. Colorful, naturally lit, nothing too posed. Not actual sex either, that would be funny but mostly weird.
- Pretty product shots and step-by-step photos make my brain gush out of my gaping mouth in a state of zombie-like euphoria. Make my brain gush out of my face, I beg you.
When I was contributing at xoJane, before Vain existed, I had my old roommate and bff shoot my article photos for me, after lying around in my bed all evening writing them at my own leisure. That was a really fun time for me; getting to write for xo is an enjoyable thing. Try it! Pitch! Oh, and you also have to be pretty good at beauty shit, I totally forgot to mention that, ha!
Questions in the comments, I’m here to help.