If you missed the first Popular Query Questions post, be sure to stop by and take a look! 5. What is a good query? A good query is like a old school burlesque show. Take the lady with the giant fans. There’s a show going on, but the tease is killer. You want to see how it ends even as you enjoy what’s happening. The performer knows just how long to lead you on before you get bored and turn back to your drink. She also knows how much to show to keep you interested. You’ll never see it all [Read more…]
Piggybacking again off of Deb’s popular Frequently Asked Questions and the first part of 10 Popular Article Writing Questions, I’m also tackling query questions. If I miss one of your burning questions please let me know! 10. What is a query? A query is like a sales letter aimed at the editors of a publication. It is used to pitch a specific article idea and yourself as a writer. Some liken it to a cover letter, but I believe there is a difference. A cover letter is interest in a specific job and pitches yourself to the hiring manager, a [Read more…]
I was clicking through the Freelance Writing Jobs web site reading articles and coming up with ideas for May’s editorial calendar when I came across this old blog post of mine: “There’s Rejection and Then There’s REJECTION!” I found myself giggling at a question “Is it just me or does it sting more when you’re rejected by hot key?” I was talking about the digital querying age and how rejection form letters are often a hot key away from delivering a swift, coarse “No.” I then got a little nostalgic about the good old days of querying. Remember… Stocking up [Read more…]
Last week’s post “6 Tips for Finding New Freelance Writing Markets” received a comment worth mentioning. Though I was brief in my roundup, the commenter Robert Earle Howells offered some good reminders: These are all ways to troll, and they’re good. You can find great titles and get inspired. But remember, that doesn’t mean you’re ready to pitch them. One issue of a magazine, or even writer guidelines (which are often outdated), or a WM listing (ditto), can’t prepare you for a decent query. You need to look at the archives. You need to find the name and e-mail address [Read more…]
I often compare querying a publication to dating or being in a relationship: “Date Your Publication” and what would dating be without cheesy, low class, creepy pick-up lines? “I think we’ve met/Tweeted/are Facebook friends.” “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” Writers really don’t have to press to find a connection with an editor in their query. Unless you’ve had an encounter the editor is going to remember, forget the wind up, just pitch. Some exceptions include: actually meeting them, talking with them and having the door left open for a pitch, regularly interacting via social networking, etc. “Are you looking [Read more…]
Pitching queries for magazines can be a bit like playing fortune teller. You have to be in tune to what the audience will want to read six months from now. In my post “Are you thinking about Christmas yet? You should be…” I talked about the long lead time for magazines, how writers need to use their insider contacts and hunches on trending topics to pitch specifics to mags and how they should look for new angles on evergreen topics. What if you don’t have a talkative insider? To get a future cast, all you really need to do is [Read more…]
Do you contact a source prior to submitting the query or do you wait until after you secure the article?
Writers tend to meet with, connect and befriend other writers. We build social networks and professional contacts that are both supportive and invaluable. These same contacts can be used to help get your foot in the door with editors and publications. Now before you hustle off to pitch a magazine using the name of a Twitter friend who has also written for them, you should know there is a fair amount of courtesy and responsibility that comes with using someone’s name to further your career. The first thing you have to do is ask the person – seems obvious, but [Read more…]
Many writers don’t realize the importance of making sure their query makes it to the correct editor.
Every so often I’ll get a timeless writing question: What about simultaneous queries? Old school rules dictated that unless the magazine indicated, you never submitted the same query to anyone else until you received a rejection from the first publication. This is a oft grumbled rule with writers because it could take months to receive a rejection for a piece and then after waiting those months you have to start the process all over again. Editors cite concerns over their processes and the time it takes to approve an article, place it, pay for it, publish it only to see [Read more…]
If you are thinking about pitches for magazines you need to be several months ahead of the curve. I know the last thing anyone wants to think about right now is snow, cold weather and roasting chestnuts, but thinking ahead is a great way to get your pitch approved. When everyone else is thinking about decking the halls, editors are looking to spring fashions and top summer vacation spots. Thinking and working on magazine editors’ schedules will help in getting your work to the top of the heap. When thinking ahead, writers need to balance general with specific. Editors take [Read more…]
By Terreece M. Clarke I always wanted my own talk show :0) Today I’m going to answer a few of the great questions I’ve received: Rupa Says: Hi Terreece, Off topic – but I wanted to return to the query challenge. (Yes, I am working on it!) I have spent some time studying query letter tips and sample queries online. I have never done this before and want to learn to do it right. I have a few questions – Is it absolutely necessary to mention in the query some of the names of the people I will be talking [Read more…]
By Terreece M. Clarke There are a variety of things a writer must take into account when making a pitch to a publication. A writer must meet and get to know the publication. So I’m advising writers to take it out on a date. Make an appointment, clear out the distractions and ask the publication about itself: Are you printed often? Who’s your audience? What’s your tone? Are you authoritative? Cheeky? Friendly? How much of you is written by freelancers? Any specific sections? What have you talked about in the past year? Are there certain topics you just love to [Read more…]