Episode 2: You can't say no to Larri Jo!

You just can’t say no to Larri Jo! Abigail and Kate interviewed Larri Jo Starkey, Senior Editor of the American Quarter Horse Association’s flagship publication – The American Quarter Horse Journal. In this episode, Larri Jo shares what she looks for in a freelancer, her thoughts on the importance of a story’s quality before edits, the difference between a single-story gig and a regular contributor, the helpfulness of developing an expertise as a writer, AQHA’s policies on hiring freelance writers, the dynamics of an association magazine versus an independent publication, the best way to pitch to AQHA, faux pas to avoid as a freelancer, and advice on how to make yourself indispensable as a freelancer. You won’t want to miss this episode—there are so many gold nuggets!

Contact Larri Jo at: lstarkey@aqha.org. You can also find her chronicling her adventures at twitter.com/larrijo

Here are just a few of the valuable insights shared by Larri Jo:

Larri Jo learned during her time as an obituary writer for a newspaper that your goal as a writer is to be able to distill your story down to a five-word sentence.

The angels sing when a freelancer delivers content packaged with a bow: story written in AP style requiring minimal edits, photos, cutlines, video, invoice and comp copy addresses.

At AQHA Media, former interns have a distinct edge because they’ve been trained to write to the association’s specifications. Abigail and Kate both did internships with AQHA. Here’s more info about those internships .

AQHA uses a trusted stable of freelancers, but if a journalist has a story perfect for one of the association’s five publications: The American Quarter Horse Journal ,  America’s HorsePerformance Horse Journal, Ranch Horse Journal, and Quarter Racing Journal , the company is happy to consider working with someone new.

Each of AQHA’s publications has a distinct way of highlighting the American Quarter Horse. Learn those angles before pitching a story to Larri Jo.

The best way you can set yourself apart as a freelancer is by being a good storyteller.

If you send a pitch to Larri Jo, be sure to include pertinent info such as a working title and deck, angle, potential sources, ideas for photography—and how you will acquire images—and graphic treatment.

Ways to ensure you don’t work with Larri Jo:

-       Pester her incessantly about pitches

-       Misspelled words, like names, classes and horses

-       Tick off their sources

-       Unprofessionalism

-       Pitching stories that have run in the magazine recently

-       Getting mad when your pitch doesn’t get used

Your best bet if you want to work with AQHA Media is to develop genuine relationships with the editors—whether that’s striking up a conversation at AHP or tracking them down at an AQHA show, help them put a face to a name. If you’ve got a great story and you can write, there could be room for your article.

Final advice:
1. Be a professional. Meet deadlines and act maturely on the phone with AQHA to prove you can be trusted with sources.
2. Be a good writer.
3. Be willing to work, to put in the hours and do the research.
4. Make the editor’s life better.

About The Freelance Remuda

The Freelance Remuda is a podcast about navigating the equine media frontier. Co-hosted by seasoned freelance professionals Abigail Boatwright and Kate Bradley Byars, the podcast explores the trials and triumphs surrounding life as a freelancer in equine media, while sharing valuable tips from equine media editors and creatives doing what they love. Find and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher.

Abigail Boatwright