Pitching A Story
I've been writing for a few smaller websites and magazines for about six months, and I feel I've gotten my style down and corrected most of my bad habits. After receiving my first printed article in the mail today, I feel confident that I'm good enough to write for some larger venues. My contributions so far have been unpaid, so I never worried too much about pitching stories. Since I'm not asking for money, I haven't been overly concerned with how my pitch comes across. Not that I don't act professionally, simply that I wasn't worried. But, being that I'll be talking to people that (to be blunt) I hope to be paid by, I'm a bit more nervous about how I come across.
This may seem like a trivial concern, but first impressions, as they say, are everything. So I'm looking for some advice or generic examples. Is there a preferred way to pitch a story?