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 – that’s another kind of show. The same holds true for a query. Get the editor interested, make them think about the possibilities, show them a little leg (your queries) and leave them wanting more. If they want to see the whole article, well they’re going to have to pay for it!
4. Should I include possible sources in a query?
I like to, especially if I have a juicy source that will peak the editor’s interest like an author who just released a new book or a famous/well respected authority on the subject, etc. I think it’s important to line up some sources before your pitch, that way you can include them as a ‘have’ and not a ‘want.’ Not all writers do it this way, but I have found the approach beneficial.
3. Email query vs postal query.
Email queries are great because they make the querying process faster. No more mail travel time, self-addressed stamped envelopes, etc. Writers can now create their query and zip it off to the editor. The responses are faster as well – including rejections. Postal queries still have a place and a few publications only want paper queries. Remember, it’s not what you want to do but what the publication wants to see.
2. Simultaneous submissions: for sure or faux pas?
It depends on the publication. Most will detail whether they accept simultaneous submissions. If they do, it is with the caveat of ‘non-competing’ submissions. Parents Magazine won’t want to hear Parenting Magazine is running the same story, but won’t care if the Today’s Parent Toronto has a similar story by you. Competing: Vogue & Harper’s Bazaar, non-competing: Vogue and Wisconsin’s “Shopper’s Monthly.”*
1. I got rejected, now what?
Welcome to freelance writing! It’s a wonderful world where rejection letters, old coffee cups and empty printer cartridges litter the alley. It’s also a place where bylines and paycheck dance down the street in a big “Whooo Hooo” parade. The thing to ask yourself is why do you think it was rejected and what kind of rejection did you receive? A flat out “No” means try to pitch it elsewhere, “We liked it, but not for us” means you’re warm, you just need to tailor it more to the publication.”There’s rejection and then there is REJECTION!” is a great resource for deciphering rejection letters.
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