Tech for Freelance Writers: keep on top of your pitches with SQL

Anthony Gladman
7 min readNov 28, 2021
A drawing of an antique typewriter looking all old and shit

Freelance writers send a lot of emails. There’s the usual back-and-forth with editors, arranging interviews, sending questions to sources, and most importantly the constant churn of looking for the next job.

It’s easy, if you’re not careful, to lose track of your pitches among all this inbox clutter. But if you don’t keep this part of your job ticking over you could lose out on future work. That won’t do!

For this reason it pays to keep track of your pitches somehow. I mean it literally pays; this is the top of your money-making funnel. You need to look after it.

Choosing the right tool to track your pitches

You can use many tools to track your pitches. Lots of people plug things into spreadsheets. I use a SQL database. It tracks my projects from pitch to publication.

I won’t explain the whole thing here — that’s too much at once — but I will share with you how the pitches part works, and what advantages it brings.

That way you can decide whether it might be the right fit for you too.

Important note: I use a MacBook, so some of my examples will be based on MacOS.

SQL can work on any platform, so there should still be something useful here for you even if you use Windows or Linux.

To keep this guide from getting too long I won’t cover installing and configuring SQL. You’ll have to Google that yourself. Take a look here for starters.

Planning your SQL database to track pitches

You’ll need to plan your database out before building it. I used dbdiagram.io, a free online tool that works very well and is simple to use.

First you must decide what it is you want to track about your pitches. For me, that list included:

  • When I sent the pitch
  • Who I sent the pitch to
  • Which publication I was pitching
  • What the pitch was about (I just use the subject line of the pitch email for this)
  • Where I’m at with the pitch (I’ll explain this in a minute)

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Anthony Gladman

Everywhere else I write about beer, cider and spirits. This is where I put other stuff, mostly about coding.