Corrie Mitchell, Editor in Chief at OnFaith ‹ Return to Interviews ›

 

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Corrie Mitchell

Corrie is the editor of OnFaith and a graduate of the literary reportage master's program at New York University. Originally from Virginia, Corrie currently lives in the South Bronx where she is a member of Restoration Community Church.

Do you prefer being pitched by email or are you open to phone calls?
Definitely email. Since you’re pitching a written piece, the email pitch lets me see from the start what your writing style is and if you’re able to summarize the argument or story you’re wanting to tell in a pithy email.

Are there specific days or time of day that you prefer being contacted?
Weekdays are best, and probably result in the quickest turnaround time. But with email, you can really pitch anytime and I’ll just take a look and answer when I can.

What topics currently interest you the most?
At OnFaith, we’re particularly interested in the following topics: Millennials and faith, how to read the Bible, and how theology impacts daily life. We also have two running series that we’re always interested in adding to: “10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About . . . “ and “5 Bible Verses for . . . “ But the key is that these are simply topics – and a story isn’t the same as a topic. For a pitch to seem compelling, the writer must first find a unique take on a topic and turn it into a story.

What’s the most common mistake publicists make when approaching you?
Not tailoring their pitches to OnFaith specifically. It often takes me a while to respond – if at all – to general pitches that would require me to read an entire book to find the right story for OnFaith. Another mistake is pitching me stories that we’ve already published by another author. The topic could be similar – the same, even – but you have to pitch a new take on it.

Do you like receiving galleys? Do you prefer physical or e-versions of a book?
I would prefer to wait a little longer to receive the physical copy. Easier for me to mark up with story ideas for a potential OnFaith article.

Do you ever feature self-published authors?
If the piece you’re pitching offers a fresh take on, say, a theological debate or you’ve done solid reporting on a story that hasn’t yet been told as you’re telling it, it doesn’t matter to me who you are. What matters is that the writing can speak for itself.

What is your typical lead time for an interview/article?
Typical lead time is between two weeks and a month. Often it depends on how quickly a writer can turn a piece around. If you’re able to do it more quickly, or you pitch a completed piece that is publishable with just a few edits, we’re usually able to shorten that lead time.

What topic or trend have you seen enough of in Religious books?
There are a lot of “live your best life” and “how to have a successful relationship” style books – those in the self-help category – that just don’t go very deep. They offer little in the way of new information, often containing nothing more than common knowledge with out-of-context Bible verses thrown around. I could do without any more of those books.

Which Religious leader(s) or Religious author(s) would you like to interview most? Why?
Personally I’d love to interview Tim Keller or John Piper, as they’ve both influenced my own theology and understanding of God and his grace quite a bit. I’d also love to interview any faith leaders who are leading unique, innovative, or under-the-radar ministries.

What are some of your favorite Religious books?
I’m a huge fan of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis – the artistry in his writing is something that’s rare to find in the writing of today’s theologians. As for books I’ve read more recently, I really enjoyed Spiritual Friendship by Wesley Hill, a personal account that proposes a new way of thinking and living (as regards marriage/singleness/friendship) that is actually quite ancient and biblical. I also thought Barnabas Piper’s Help My Unbelief was a great read for people who struggle with doubt and wonder what role that might play in their faith. And, if we’re honest, that is all of us . . . especially the skeptical Millennial generation.

What interview has generated the most response or feedback?
We did a Q&A with Hookers for Jesus founder, Annie Lobert, which did quite well. Hers is a great story of redemption. We’ve also done interviews with well known authors -- like a Q&A with Max Lucado on his new book, which tend to do well thanks to the subject’s popularity.

What makes a great interview for you?
I’m really interested in an interview with someone who is involved in a unique kind of ministry or has an odd, problem-laden, but grace-filled story to tell. Someone who is incredibly passionate about their life’s work and can speak about it in a way that comes off more like a conversation between old friends than a stilted Q&A rife with predictable Qs and As. The more I can get of your personality and motivation from an interview, the better. If all I come out with is a handful of sound bite-style quotes, I wouldn’t call that a successful interview. I want my interviewee to speak off the cuff and go down tangents that might reveal more about a person than any number of prescribed answers to obvious questions ever could.

Please briefly describe your demographics or audience.

OnFaith is aimed at young, faithful believers who are deeply engaged with and thinking about their faith and the faiths of their neighbors. They are living out their faith daily. They do not simply accept the beliefs of their parents, but fully own their faith. They constantly read and learn and solidify their beliefs and turn their faith into action by deeply loving their neighbors.

Anything else we should know?
At OnFaith, we’re really interested in providing content that is thoughtful and substantive and personal – and that coming from people of all faith traditions. Liberal Muslims and conservative Pentecostals – and everyone in between. We publish a lot of essays and listicles, though we’re also looking to publish more reported content – human interest stories, trend pieces, profiles of faith leaders good and bad . . . all of it. If you want to know what to pitch OnFaith, just read it. We want more of that. And don’t be afraid to pitch again and again until something sticks.

 

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