How do you transition from one specialism to another without losing clients? Read this Bollywood-inspired example.
I’m a fairly well-published journalist from Mumbai. All my work is current Bollywood news and features. Now though, I’m working to shift my focus from Bollywood news for newspapers to stories for magazines. (I am not too rigid on the subject, except that I am tired of Bollywood now and do not want to do anymore of it.) My final goal is to write for international publications. I am finding it difficult to break away from Bollywood news, as that is all I have as published experience. And no editor is open to have me write anything other than that.
Please guide me on how to make the transition from something as local as Bollywood news to magazine stories.
Turns out, you’re in luck. Because Bollywood isn’t local anymore, it’s gone global. And someone like you is much in demand. I speak from experience; at least two editors I know recently hired “Bollywood correspondents” for their US-based publications.
You’re not interested in Bollywood anymore, but that’s something you specialize in. How do you make the leap from Bollywood to non-Bollywood? Simple. Use it as a jumping off point.
In India, most people are already familiar with Bollywood, so features on it are limited to chasing the stars. But what can you offer an international audience who isn’t all that familiar with this industry and is increasingly hearing about it? I’d start using your contacts and your industry knowledge to sell business, political and current affairs stories to the editors you’re targeting. For instance, this story in Forbes may be about Bollywood on the surface, but really it’s about smart businesspeople and a clever marketing idea. This story is a personal narrative, and this one is a travel piece.
I’d use angles like these to break into the publications you want to write for, and once you’ve proven to be a good reporter and the editor trusts you, there’s no reason you can’t branch out to other subjects.
You could start with those right off and there’s absolutely no reason that you wouldn’t be successful in non-Bollywood subjects, but you’ve got such a huge vat of gold in front of you just waiting to be tapped.
Why not use your contacts, your industry knowledge, and your years of experience to break into the publications you really want to write for? Once you’ve gained the editors’ trust and worked with them a couple of times, you can start pitching whatever you now want to write about.
Natasha Khullar Relph
Founder and Editor, The Wordling
Natasha Khullar Relph is an award-winning journalist and author with bylines in The New York Times, TIME CNN, BBC, ABC News, Ms. Marie Claire, Vogue, and more.
She is the founder of The Wordling, a weekly business newsletter for journalists, authors, and content creators.
Natasha has mentored over 1,000 writers, helping them break into dream publications and build six-figure careers. She is the author of Shut Up and Write: The No-Nonsense, No B.S. Guide to Getting Words on the Page and several other books.
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