On direct orders from my agent, publicist, personal chef and the Pope, I’ve been trying to up my writer profile lately by targeting big name publications. I started by short-listing several household name publications, then eliminating the sadistic jackasses that pay 25 cents a word despite an excess of two million readers and the ones that only accept queries on spec. From there it was time to start doing my research by reading several issues of each publication to get a sense of the types of stories that they print so as to craft the perfect, laser-guided pitch. This is how I ended up with 15 Playboys strewn around my house.
No, I did not go out and buy 15 Playboys. Buying a pile of back issues for US$5 a piece for every publication you want to pitch is what suckers do right before they have to layoff their personal chefs. Instead I thought I’d be smart and just call every guy I knew asking for a couple recent issues. This tactic probably would have paid off back in 1992, but with pictures of naked girls hard-hitting articles freely available on the internet these days, I came up totally empty handed. Unwilling to call it quits, I broadened my search and finally hit pay dirt: a single mom who’s been mysteriously receiving Playboys for free in the mail for the past ten years. Of course. Why didn’t I think of that in the first place?
Let me state for the record, that despite the open-minded environment that I currently enjoy, there’s nevertheless a certain awkwardness to having that many nudie magazines in the house. Every time someone comes over you have to decide how well you’re going to hide them. Solutions have ranged from thrown in a corner to behind the panel where the shower pipes live. It’s been a weird couple of weeks.
In any case, after countless hours of tireless, diligent, wrist-breaking research, I think I’ve finally cracked the Playboy editorial formula. If you want to successfully pitch Playboy, you need to do a “raw and uncut” interview with the latest Hollywood stud, review a golf course, profile a deceased 70s mobster, pick any vague government conspiracy theory and ‘uncover’ it to the tune of 5,000 words or change your name to Gore Vidal and write about whatever the hell you want.
Suffice it to say, I’m admitting defeat. Not even on my best day could I satisfy any of that criteria and anyway I’ve already gotten cease and desist orders from Vidal’s lawyers.
Next up, Vanity Fair. Glancing at covers, it seems I need to interview a starlet that makes in excess of 15 million per film, report on a conflict zone, sensationalize a dead artist, or edit an ex-president’s memoirs. Does anyone know Gerald Ford’s grandkids or ex-maid?