Query Challenge!

By Terreece M. Clarke

Think about the top three publications where you’d like to be published. Got ’em? Now take the FWJ query challenge.

Between now and Christmas, research, develop and submit a stunning query for those three publications. If you are a business writer, do the challenge with three clients you’d like to land.

I’m talking about serious work – going to the library to look through back issues, zoning in on a section, finding the correct editor to pitch to and carefully crafting a spectacular query.

We sometime underestimate ourselves. I hear writers say all the time they don’t have this or that to approach a publication or client. So ask yourself these things: “Do you have clips?”, “Do you have a great idea?” if no to those two, “Do you have the capacity to get those things?” Then do it.

Create writing samples, troll for great angles that fits your desired publication, eliminate excuses – which is what this is all about anyway. The holiday season is a great time to do this because many writers are slacking off, indeed many editors are too which means your query may sit longer, but that’s fine because you’ve got the holiday hubbub to distract you!

The query challenge is also designed to set you up for the upcoming year. You may not land all of three pubs, but it gives you a jumping off point and a place to refocus your energy.

So are you ready to take the challenge? Then publicly declare yourself. In the comments below, state you’re taking the challenge and if you’re comfortable telling us – declare the publications. Between now and Christmas we’re going to talk more about crafting queries, etc. and checking progress so sign up now!


  1. Rupa says

    You read my mind Terreece – word to word!! I can’t tell you how excited I was to read the title. I have been a freelance writer for less than a year now and all my work is for the web. Nothing spectacular yet, but I am slowly finding my way and learning the ropes. Many thanks to this website and all the writers here. The past two days, I took a break to attend to personal commitments and my somewhat relaxed mind kept wandering towards finding print work…I would really like to venture in that direction and have been eyeing a few Indian-American publications. I already have a few ideas, but no clue where to start. So, just today, I started searching for query tips and how to appreoach magazine editors. Your post is so timely and I take it as a good sign too! :-))
    I take the query challenge and look forward to your helpful posts. Thank you!

  2. says

    I definitely want to participate! I’ve been writing Web content for about a year, and I’m itching to break into a print magazine. This might just be the kick in the pants I need to start querying.

    My three target publications:
    Spark (a local Delaware young-adult magazine)

  3. Jennifer says

    You read my mind also. I am new to freelancing and have also only been published online. My goal for next year is to get published in a print publication. I had planned on doing this challenge myself before the holidays and am even more excited to do it with a group. Since I’m new to print, I’m going to target smaller magazines for this go around so that I can get some clips and experience. So, count me in!!

  4. says

    I’ve been a carpenter most of my life. Because of injuries and the bad economy it’s high time I become a full-time freelance writer. I do have clips in national magazines, newspapers, and a web presence. But, all of my writing is for the construction/diy market. My plan is to expand my repertoire and perceived expertise so I can write for mainstream consumer publications like Men’s Health, Esquire, and The New Yorker.

  5. says

    I’m really excited about this challenge and definitely want to participate. I really want to build my fiction presence, but I will focus on non-fiction for the time being. I have clips in my local newspaper, but do want to expand.

    Target Publications:
    *France Today
    *Travel + Leisure

  6. says


    I also have been writing for the web. Nothing spectacular, just enough to buy some groceries and gas. I am looking to break into print. I believe a good resource is ” A writer’s guide to getting published in magazines”. By J.J. Despain. This book is a great tool, and actually helped me with article structure! I am looking to break into the corporate world, so most of the magazines I will want to write for will be Trade Journals. But I also want to do my side projects. So here goes my top three:

    1. Body & Soul Magazine
    2. Hotelier
    3. Sante Magazine

  7. Paige says

    I’m in! Nina, we are in similar places in terms of our writing experience. I am trying to break OUT of the corporate world, though! Trying to go for magazine articles.

    Here are my top three I am going to focus on:

    1. Working Mother
    2. Family Fun
    3. The Comics Journal


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