Friday, April 10, 2009

7 tips for a freelance query

You'd like to see your name in print in a national magazine? The first step involves crafting a query that piques and holds an editor's interest. How do you do that? Let me give one editor's perspective.

1. Look online for the magazine's submission guidelines, and follow them. If you flaunt the preferred procedures, you haven't shown attention to detail.

2. In the query, show that you're more than passingly familiar with the magazine, its audience and its coverage. Research impresses editors.

3. Set a professional tone, even if you have met the editor multiple times. Someone other than the editor you know might evaluate the queries.

4. Demonstrate your writing skills in the query. I'm not interested in published clips that have been edited; I'll use the query to evaluate writing skills.

5. Describe your story idea in detail, especially if the topic's appeared in the magazine within two years. How would your article differ?

6. Quickly explain why you deserve a byline and a paycheck. What value can you bring to the magazine that another writer can't offer?

7. If sending an e-mail, avoid "query" as the only word in the Subject line, and make your e-mail stand out. "Query: pack for a week-long birding festival with only a carry-on suitcase" definitely will help an editor remember you and your idea.

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