Reading to Pitch

A query isn’t just about developing a good idea and sending it to the right person, a query is designed to show your idea meets the publication’s needs and reader demographic. Before pitching a publication, a writer has to do one very important thing – read the publication. You wouldn’t believe how many writers skip that part and wonder why their idea was rejected. Once you’ve read the publication, go back and read it again. Most experts suggest reading six months worth of information. At the very least, look at the last three months. This will help you determine four [Read more…]

Query Letter Writing for Book Authors

So, as I’ve mentioned, I still feel like I’m a newbie writer.  I’m also a newbie published author – my Historic Walking Guide to Edinburgh was picked up after I responded to a publisher looking for writers. But what if you are an author looking to get your book published?  That, my dear readers, is not a fun place to be in – I know several friends who are in that position (Hi!), and it is a competitive place to be.  I happened upon this fantastic book author query letter over at a site dedicated to Science Fiction and Fantasy [Read more…]

Query Letter Writing: Your Portfolio

So, it’s that time again: time to talk about tweaks to your query letter writing strategy!  Today I’d like to talk about your portfolio.  You know, the examples of work that prove you actually can write, and write about the subject you’re pitching.  You do have a portfolio, right? Words Say a Thousand…oh, Nevermind I was trying to come up with a clever metaphor to describe how portfolios help a editor visualise your work in their publication.  But it didn’t come out right, so let me just say this: Writers who “kind of” fit what the editor is looking for [Read more…]

Query Letter Writing: Get Organized

Unfortunately, the world of query letter writing is one of numbers:  the more you write, the more responses you get.  Now that gets a little daunting at first, because you might not get any (or few) replies – even rejections!  Hopefully, if you’re following along with our other query letter tips, you’ll be getting better and better.  But I’d like to focus on another important aspect of your query letters: getting organized. What You Need to Track Well, I think this is pretty straightforward, but it might vary depending on your niche and topic.  Here’s what I’m tracking: Publication Name [Read more…]

Query Letter Writing: More Silly Mistakes

You when they say that you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff?  Well, I would agree except when it comes to query letter writing – that’s when the small stuff can really break you!  From catching random typos to making the gaffe of saying “Dear John” when you’re writing to Emily, first impressions count, so make ‘em good. I do receive pitches for my travel website pretty regularly, and I thought I’d share some of the silly things that people come up with that they really should have left off their query letter. “My last editor decided that she didn’t want [Read more…]

Query Letter Writing: What the Editors Say

So in our last discussion about dissecting a successful query letter, one of our community members (who is an editor) felt my query letter was too long.  While I do agree with her that brevity is important, I think the detail was important in this particular case. But the discussion board had me thinking:  what exactly is the minimum you need in your query letter?  Instead of just wondering, I went to the source and asked several editors that I know the following question: Less is More:  What ‘questions’ are the bare minimum that a writer need to answer in [Read more…]

Query Letter Writing: World’s Worst Query Letter

Since I got the pleasure of writing for April Fool’s Day here at Freelance Writing Jobs, I’d like to flex my creative muscles and write what has to be the world’s worst query letter.  Query letter writing is half skill and half art, but some writers are just lazy.  I can only laugh at some of the things I’ve seen.  Hopefully you’ll smile with this one too. Note: This letter is replying to a hypothetical query posted by “Janice” on Craigslist wanting a new blogger to write once a week on her hair salon’s blog, Smarter Clips at $30/post. Hey [Read more…]

Query Letter Writing: Querying Out of the Box

letter

Last time I walked us through a successful query letter writing, pointing out a few tips for you to review your own query letters.  Now I want to talk to you about something that requires a little bit more confidence a few extra ninja skills; I just call querying out of the box. You might hear these called letters of interest, because it is when you are querying a potential client when there isn’t any writers guidelines or job posting.  For example, you might be an avid gardener and and want to send a letter introducing you and your services to the [Read more…]

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