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Pitch Policy

I’ve been getting a lot of PR pitches lately and to save us both a lot of time and energy, I thought I’d post some DOs, DON’Ts and other sundry items.

  • First, get my name right. Seriously. My name is Charmian Christie. First name: Charmian. Last name: Christie. If you send me an email starting off with “Hi Christie” you will be sent to the penalty box for 30-minutes and forced to memorize the Canadian Prime Ministers in chronological order.* Plus, your email goes to the bottom of my read list. Seriously.
  • Please don’t just fire off a press release. I get too many of these to respond to. Instead, send me an email with a brief summary of your product or idea and let me know why it would suit my blog. And you have read a few posts, haven’t you?
  • I live in Canada. A significant portion of my readers live in Canada. Before you pitch your product, please make sure it’s available in Canada. Note: Customs, duty and the high cost of shipping fees makes anything shipped from the US ineligible for “available in Canada” status.
  • My email is charmian [dot] christie [at] gmail [dot] com. This alone should render point #1 moot. History has proven it doesn’t. If all else fails, contact me through the form on my contacts page.

Disclosure Policy
With the exception of the rare (unpaid) guest post from a fellow food blogger, I write this blog myself. I give my honest opinions. 

  • Most of the small gadgets I write about I purchase myself. This means I can indulge my impulse buying and give an honest review without guilt.
  • If someone sends me a free sample I will only blog about it if I think it’s of value, In this case, I’ll let you know the item was a freebie.
  • That said, most of the cookbooks I mention have been sent to me from publishers. I am under no obligation to blog about any cookbooks and will do so only if I feel the book would be of value to my readers.
  • When I started this blog I knew no cookbook authors. Now I know many of them. If I have a personal relationship with an author, I’ll disclose it.

Advertising
Why yes, I do sell ad space. Thanks for asking. Please note:

  • Ads are relegated to the right hand column and are clearly marked as such. I do not allow covert advertising.
  • I have recently begun to work with brands I think are of value and will write the occasional sponsored post. If the post is sponsored, I will disclose this.
  • I sell ad space to food- or cooking-related sites for items or ad networks that fit the “What I will blog about” category. (See below.)
  • I do not sell keyword links. I give relevant links when appropriate to sites I think my readers will find useful. No money changes hands for this. Ever.
  • Likewise, I do not accept payment for content written by someone else.

Product Pitches
My blog has morphed a bit over the years. To make sure your product / cookbook / ingredient is a good match, you should know I cook in a small kitchen with limited storage space and make as many things as possible from scratch. While I enjoy cold nights by the fire and long walks on the beach at sunset, I dislike bananas, smoked oysters and rice pudding. Please get to know my approach to food. More specifically:I won’t blog about:

  • High-end luxury items: Sure I’d love a $5000 gas grill  complete with five burners, rotisserie and fish filleting station. I’d also like a man-servant named Sven and cellulite-free thighs. None of these things are likely to happen.
  • Large items: While I pine for an espresso maker to rival Starbucks, there’s no room for anything bigger than a bread box in my kitchen. If I can’t test it, I can’t write about it.
  • Processed foods: I make my own salad dressing, granola and ice cream. Think really hard before you hit “send”.
  • Miracle cures: I encourage a well-balanced diet complete with fruits, vegetables and chocolate. I do not promote wonder supplements, health drink powderss or meal replacement options.

I will blog about:

  • Real food: I prefer ingredients in their natural state. While I’m okay with flash frozen foods, tinned tomatoes and the odd jar of fish sauce, I do not use condensed or powdered items very often. This means no preservatives, MSG, sodium-laced convenience foods, junk food or highly-processed items. If it says “processed cheese food” or “edible oil product”, my blog isn’t a good fit.
  • Local / in-season food: I’m not giving up my coffee or swearing off pineapples. I often cook with spices grown half way around the world. However, wherever possible I opt for local ingredients. I live in Canada, so if your product can grow here but doesn’t, it’s not a good fit. (Translation: No fresh strawberry recipes in the dead of winter.)
  • Organic / fair trade / sustainable: Wherever possible, I opt for the ecological and/or ethical option over convenience. And yes, this means I’ll never eat monkfish again.
  • Small gadgets: I love gadgets but they have to be useful, affordable and effective. If they don’t earn their kitchen real estate, I’ll let readers know.
  • Cookbooks: While I love cookbooks and will consider any topic from appetizers to desserts, the recipes must be in line with my real / seasonal / ethical / small-appliance-only approach. If the recipes call for garlic powder, chicken nuggets or a 6-horse-power juicer, it’s not a good fit.

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due
I’d like to thank Andrea Tomkins of QuietFish for her suggestion I post a pitch policy. I stole borrowed liberally from Andrea, who in turn swiped the idea from Kate Trgovac.


*Canadian Prime Ministers in Chronological Order

  1. Sir John A. Macdonald (twice)
  2. Alexander Mackenzie
  3. Sir John J. C. Abbott
  4. Sir John S. D. Thompson
  5. Sir Mackenzie Bowell
  6. Sir Charles Tupper
  7. Sir Wilfrid Laurier
  8. Sir Robert L. Borden
  9. Arthur Meighen (twice)
  10. William Lyon Mackenzie King (three times)
  11. Richard B. Bennett
  12. Louis St. Laurent
  13. John G. Diefenbaker
  14. Lester B. Pearson
  15. Pierre Elliott Trudeau (twice)
  16. Joseph Clark
  17. John Turner
  18. Brian Mulroney
  19. Kim Campbell
  20. Jean Chrétien
  21. Paul Martin
  22. Stephen Harper

20 Responses to Pitch Policy

  1. liz utter October 2, 2009 at 4:54 pm #

    Hi Charmian,
    I’m a friend of Elizabeth Kricfalusi’s.

    Thought you might want to know about one of my favorite gagets.
    Onion Goggles.

    I put them in your search box and nothing came back, so maybe you don’t know about them.

    I LOVE ‘em.

    Liz

    • Charmian Christie October 3, 2009 at 8:19 am #

      Hi Liz. Thanks so much for dropping by. Any friend of Elizabeth K’s is a friend of mine! She’s great.

      Onion goggles? I know some people use goggles, but I didn’t know they made them specifically for onions. I’ll have to get a pair because onions make me weep terribly. Thanks for the tip.

      • Chelsea October 22, 2009 at 3:18 pm #

        @Charmian Christie, I recently learned (thanks to a tip on CooksIllustrated), that if you light a fire (candle or stove burner) near where you are cutting onions, it totally burns up whatever chemical is released when you cut onions — no tears. I tried it, worked. Yay! Love your site (first time visitor)

        • Charmian Christie October 25, 2009 at 8:23 pm #

          Welcome, Chelsea! Thanks for the tip on onions. I weep a lot with onions and will make sure I have a burner going next time I dice some up.

          Glad you like the site and appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment.

  2. Julia Coombs October 20, 2009 at 10:24 pm #

    I loved this post — made me giggle like a fool. Thanks! (for the giggle and the political history lesson )

    Julia

  3. Cookin' Canuck July 12, 2010 at 11:28 pm #

    The 30 minute penalty & memorization of Canadian Prime Ministers gave me a very good laugh. I am in the process of writing my own pitch policy and it was very helpful to read through your version. I appreciate that you did it with a good dose of humor.

    • Charmian Christie July 13, 2010 at 9:10 pm #

      Best of luck with your pitch policy. They are a bear to write so a bit of humour always helps.

  4. Stacy August 29, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    Hi Charmian -thought you’d like to know you have followers in the US too. I stumbled upon your spicy cauliflower recipe and I really enjoy how concise your printables are. Thanks!

    • Charmian Christie August 31, 2010 at 10:53 am #

      @Stacy, thanks! Glad you like that feature. I was thrilled when I found it. Nice to hear from a US reader. Love how the Internet has no borders.

  5. Sigrid Trombley August 30, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    Hello Charmian,
    I just read your entire “Pitch Policy” — how rare is that I wonder. It screams, “ETHICAL” with a capital E. I am very impressed. It makes me want to keep reading your blog (I only know about it because of its mention by Monica Bhide) as I know I’ll find it interesting and be able to trust what you say. All too rare in today’s cyberspace.
    Thanks.
    Sigrid

    • Charmian Christie August 31, 2010 at 11:02 am #

      @Sigrid Trombley, thanks for your kind words.

      Trust is a big issue with the web and can be a challenge. I know there are people out there with no ethics whatsoever or who believe there should be no rules on the web, but I believe the vast majority don’t set out to dupe people. They simply don’t understand journalistic practices or the importance of following them. This is one case where ignorance is not bliss.

      I’m thrilled you found me via Monica Bhide. She’s a real gem and another blogger you can trust.

      • Sigrid Trombley August 31, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

        @Charmian Christie,
        Yes, you’re correct being able to trust what you read on the Internet is a big issue and a huge challenge. It behooves all of us who run across interesting and ethical bloggers to spread the word. While ethical is critical, interesting is important as well. Some write simply to “hear” themselves talk.

        I agree, Monica Bhide is a gem. I just loved her description of her visit with you and how lovely that you developed such a wonderful friendship.

  6. Sigrid Trombley August 30, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    Hello Charmian,
    I just read your entire “Pitch Policy” — how rare is that I wonder. It screams, “ETHICAL” with a capital E. I am very impressed. It makes me want to keep reading your blog (I only know about it because of its mention by Monica Bhide) as I know I’ll find it interesting and be able to trust what you say. All too rare in today’s cyberspace.
    Thanks.
    Sigrid

  7. sumaya June 2, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    your pitch policy is hilarious. in a funny way, im actually glad you have the prime minister up. great refresher from my grade 10 history class!

  8. sumaya June 2, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    your pitch policy is hilarious. in a funny way, im actually glad you have the prime minister up. great refresher from my grade 10 history class!

  9. Sara November 7, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    You’re hilarious! I need to learn these but I’m not going to call you Christie because I’m due with baby #8 in less than 6 weeks and just don’t have the time to study right now!
    Saw your video on Galettes – fun!

  10. Charmian Christie July 13, 2010 at 9:10 pm #

    Best of luck with your pitch policy. They are a bear to write so a bit of humour always helps.

  11. Charmian Christie August 31, 2010 at 10:53 am #

    @Stacy, thanks! Glad you like that feature. I was thrilled when I found it. Nice to hear from a US reader. Love how the Internet has no borders.

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