I got a great question from a FWJ follower & thought it would make a great post. Aja writes:
I am not sure if this fits with your query tip column or not. I know that most queries include information on who will be interviewed for the article but at what point do you line up the interviews? Do you contact the person prior to submitting the query and ask whether they would be be willing to be interviewed and conduct the interview after the article is accepted, do you interview the person first, then submit the query, or do you pitch the article based on who you would like to interview and then contact that person. Thank you for reading my question.
I always contact a source before I include them in a query. Even if you have a relationship with the source, it is always good form to get their permission first. Deciding to conduct the interview before sending out the query is really up to the writer. In my query letters I usually introduce the source(s), give a wee bit of background information like their area of expertise, i.e. the name of their new book or other information to show how they are connected to the article and sometimes I include a few sample questions.
Sometimes you are not able to land the source before you want to send in your query. It is okay to list a few people you’d like to contact, but make sure you make it clear you haven’t spoken with them. If you are unable to land them after you’ve been given the assignment, be sure to update your editor and provide an alternative and comparable source. This scenario can get a little complicated if who you said you’d be interviewing is the key reason you scored the assignment.
If you do interview a source before getting the assignment approved, make it clear to them that you are shopping the article around. The worse thing you can do is give the impression that the article has already been assigned. If you tell a source you hope to have the article placed in one magazine, but wind up selling it to another, make sure you update them. Some sources have issues with certain publications and it just makes sense to cover all your bases. Hope this helps and thanks for the question Aja!
Got any advice for Aja? Got a query question? Email me today & you may just see your question on Freelance Writing Jobs!