Welcome to the new and improved Urban Muse! I recently switched to WordPress with the help of Joseph at Blog Tweaks and Martyn at Two Hour Blogger. Mr. Muse proposed that very same day (cue the sappy music), so I’m still working out a few bugs and getting caught up after being swept off my feet. In the meantime, I’ve gotten a few questions about querying, so I put together this list of resources.
In all honesty, I haven’t been as aggressive with querying as I used to be. That’s because I have so many reoccurring projects that I don’t need to constantly hunt down new ones. Yes, it’s exciting when you land a new assignment or score a gig with a new client, but reaching that point where you have several steady gigs, editors you work with on a regular business, yes, even clients who come to you with assignments means less hustling and more actual writing.
That said, if you want to write articles for magazines or websites, you’ll generally need a solid idea and a well-crafted query to get your first break. Here are some tips to help you hone your querying skills.
- 10 Tips for Querying Magazines: I wrote this post several years ago to cover the basics like matching your idea to the publication and choosing an appropriate subject line.
- How to Pitch: The Basics: Freelance writer and former YourTango.com editor Steph Auteri offers tips on crafting queries that (hopefully) get read.
- An Editor’s Take on Why Queries Fail, and How You Can Get Them Right: Invaluable insights from the other side of the table, courtesy of writer/editor Michelle Rafter.
- How One Query Letter Got $6,000 in Assignments: In this must-read post, freelance powerhouse Carol Tice reveals how a multipitch query email landed her several grand in assignments. She even includes that original email as a successful example.
- The Little Extras That Will Make an Editor Love Your Query: Linda Formichelli, author of Queries That Rocked, among other books, shows how extras like sidebars or resource boxes can make your query even more awesome. Also check out Linda’s free query packet for more examples of successful queries.
- Myths About Queries: Veteran freelancer Lori Widmer debunks myths about simultaneous submissions, email, lack of experience, and more.
- Simultaneous Submissions = Simultaneous Frustration? This is a very common concern among writers (especially newish ones), but as freelance journalist Mridu Khullar Relph explains in this post, it needn’t be such a big deal if you’re smart about it.
- Hate Writing Queries? Try LOIs: Letters of introduction or letters of interest offer an alternative to queries, especially if you’re an experienced writer trying to break into trade magazines. For consumer magazines, a query is still your best bet.
Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net