I want the first two sentences to tell me why this is important and original and why it belongs in Nautilus. Which means they've read the magazine and know how we operate. I also want a clear and firm sense of how they're going to tell the story, which means telling me who they're going to interview, and why they're important, and what studies they are going to use. Importance, direction, sources. Gimme those three in one or two paragraphs. If you want to add an exemplary paragraph, go for it. But it better be good. And specific. No fluff!
do you look at over-the-transom stories?
Not really. That is, not from somebody we don't know. Because we operate by monthly themes, we tailor our stories to them. But I can't say I never look at completed stories. Rarely, though. We do look at over-the-transom pitches, which are often quite long.
do you like to get follow-up phone calls?
No. Almost all editors avoid phone calls from people pitching stories.
do you assign stories on spec?
Indeed. Especially with first-timers.
? do you always pay kill fees?
Yes, if the story is contracted. 25 percent
what's the ratio of queries to actual assignments?
Oh, man, gigantic. 50 to 1, maybe.
how often do you initiate contact with writers rather than the other way round?
I would say 70 percent initiate, 30 percent they do.