Today’s holiday trivia: Kwanzaa’s week-long celebration from December 26 to January 1 honors African heritage in African-American culture. Created in 1966 by secular humanist Maulana Karenga as a specifically African-American holiday, Kwanzaa is observed in the U.S. and in other nations of the African diaspora and culminates in a feast and gift-giving. While observers of Kwanzaa initially avoided the mixing of the holiday or its symbols, values, and practice with other holidays, today, many African American families celebrate Kwanzaa along with Christmas and New Year’s.

Whenever I work with writers on their pitches (longer pieces of writing as well, but particularly in succinct formats like query letters), we spend at least one-third of the time on the concept of “journalistic detail.”

(And this is keeping in mind that the single biggest issue with most pitches that I see is having an idea that actually fits the magazine you’re pitching, the length of the article you’ve proposed, the format of the section of the magazine you’ve selected, and the audience of the magazine you’ve got in mind!)

In the past year, I’ve come to realize that once you’ve nailed the crucial working of understanding what is a good article idea and how to match them to magazines correctly, the only thing that stands in the way of having a 90%+ pitch response rate is this “journalistic detail” concept.

I had to make up the name, because I couldn’t find anyone else talking about it, but it’s been a fundamental part of the lessons in our Freelance Travel Writing Bootcamp for years.

The idea is: your (pitch) writing for print magazines must be replete with details that are:

  • evocative and vivid
  • the end-of-the-line of precision for the point at hand
  • directly tied into and supporting the point of your pitch (this is one of the hardest parts)

Anything less shows the editor you’re pitching what they call “lazy reporting” and immediately inches your email closer and closer to the three dreaded final resting places of unrequited pitches:

  1. The dark valley of “I’ll have to think about it and look at it again,” also known as “maybe purgatory”
  2. The desert of “I don’t really think so, but I won’t respond ‘no,’ just in case”
  3. The sticky, unyielding swamp of “I’m too big deal of an editor to bother with anything but the best”

Because I spend so much time working with writers on their journalistic detail chops, I put together a series of five one-hour webinars solely dedicated to this topic–for contrast, I did one fewer on writing the behemoth and obviously career-changing non-fiction book proposal!

We have only offered these webinars to members of our coaching and Dream Buffet programs until today, but now, as part of our 12 days of holiday specials, we’re offering you the first chance to get your hands on them for 75% of the regular pricing.

At the regular price ($19 each), this much content would typically set you back more than $90, because all of the webinars from our library come with:

  • streamable high-def video
  • smaller downloadable video
  • streamable and downloadable audio file
  • full transcript available to read on screen or as a PDF download
  • all webinar slides in PDF form
  • any applicable worksheets

Grab all five journalistic detail webinars today for just $25.

One of the things that makes these webinars so different not only from our usual content but also what you’ll see in any other webinar or online course is that they are based entirely on primary source material.

Rather than learn from me or abstract lessons, these webinars focus on close readings of travel articles and essays, particularly award-winning ones.

They cover:

  • Part #1: Journalistic Detail and Why You Need It – Editors often say they want “researched” and “tight” “copy”, but what does that mean and how do you do it? In this webinar, the beginning of a new craft-oriented series on uncovering journalistic detail in your field research and incorporating it into different types of pieces, we explore what journalistic detail is, why you need it, and how to know it when you see it.
  • Part #2: Weaving Journalistic Detail into Short Articles – In short, front-of-book pieces and in subsections of round-up features, the devil in the detail is choosing what to include from all of your research. In this webinar, we explore how to use your magazine’s audience and the type of magazine section you’re writing as a lens to drastically simplify the agonizing decisions of what details to include, how much time to devote to them, and how to execute them from a writing perspective.
  • Part #3: Weaving Journalistic Detail into Descriptions of People – Fiction writers are known for their descriptions of characters, but so many writers skip these details in their travel pieces—to their detriment. Characters are one of the main things editors regularly lament that writers don’t include in their pitches or final pieces. In this webinar, we explore how to get the details you need on the ground as well as how to incorporate them into your pieces.
  • Part #4: Weaving Journalistic Detail into Descriptions of Places – Setting the scene in your pieces can be the single hardest block of text for so many of us to write! How do we be “creative” or write that “flowery” stuff? The key to writing a description of a place that (1) doesn’t take you forever and push you into a type of writing you may not be so comfortable with, and (2) actually belongs in the piece your writing and shows your writing chops off to your editor (especially in a pitch) is a strong foundation in journalistic detail. We explore how it works with evocative verbal depictions of places in this webinar.
  • Part #5: Creating Ambiance with Journalistic Detail – In this series on journalistic detail, we looked at many specific situations in which you should be thoughtful about how and why you’re introducing detail, from short articles to descriptions of people and places. In the last webinar in this series, we take it higher level—how do the details that you choose create a larger takeaway for the reader without you coming out and explicitly telling them what you want them to feel?

Grab your five journalistic detail webinars for just $25 now with the discount code detail5.

Delivery details:

  • In the webinar library, add all of the webinars listed above to your cart and enter the code detail5.
  • You need to have all six webinars in your cart for the coupon code to take effect.
  • The webinars will be available immediately in your user profile on, and you will also receive an email for each webinar with the links to the downloadable audio, video, and transcript files.
  • The shopping cart will automatically alert you if it cannot apply the coupon, because the wrong webinars are in the cart.

Don’t forget: This offer expires at midnight EST tonight.

Important general notes on our 12 Days of Holiday Specials:

  • These offers are exclusively available during the time specified, with any exceptions or limited quantities noted in the individual offer affected.
  • These offers cannot be exchanged, combined, or used in place or partial combination with a previously purchased offer of any time. All sales are final.
  • Each offer includes complete instructions for the delivery of your purchase and answers to any logistical questions about taking advantage of the offer.
  • Since many of these offers take place on weekend or holiday days, the person who handles our customer service emails will not always be available or not able to sign in twice a day to catch your queries, which is why we make the offers very detailed. These are deep discounts on things that cost us money to produce, so if you would like to take advantage of an offer, you are responsible for doing so during the time frame allotted.


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