Tuesday, June 24, 2008

An appropriate query

In a previous post about freelance writers' queries to magazine editors, Casey asked "You provide an example of what not to do, and give a few critiques or thoughts about why the example query was not a good one. Could you provide an example of a successful query?"

Here's a template for a query that reveals birding knowledge, writing skills and some business sense. The writer has no previous contact with me and sets a business-casual tone.

Dear Ms. Hooper:

I propose an article about backyard landscaping for hummingbirds for a future version of WildBird's annual hummingbird issue. The May/June 2008 issue included "Birdscaping for Buzzers" by Val Cunningham, but I can offer a different take on the topic.

As a long-time gardener and avid birder... [Convincing details ensue.]

The submissions guidelines cite six to eight weeks for a reply, so I'll follow up with you then. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to working with you.

Orville Lewis

Why would that query prompt me to consider working with and paying this freelance writer? The query
* arrives via e-mail
* uses my name (not the previous editor's name and not the generic "Editor")
* correctly cites the magazine's name (attention to detail!)
* shows familiarity with the magazine's previous content and submission guidelines
* provides a different perspective on a previously covered topic
* offers clues about the writer's background and expertise
* comes across as businesslike but not stilted



Blogger Casey Tucker said...

Thanks! That's really helpful. I appreciate it. I hope it proves helpful for others as well.

June 25, 2008 10:22 AM  

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