10 Steps to a Magazine Query

Fashion For Over 50, You Can Look Amazing With Out Breaking The Bank


There are two methods to submit to journal editors.

One is to ship the completed article with out it being requested. This is referred to as an unsolicited manuscript. Most editors dislike studying prolonged manuscripts, and plenty of magazines specify that they don’t settle for unsolicited manuscripts which, when obtained, are consigned to what’s known as the ‘slush pile’ and infrequently get learn.

Another, extra productive manner, to submit to magazines is to ship a question letter, by which you pitch your concept to the editor earlier than really writing the article.

A question letter is a gross sales pitch: your aim is to persuade the editor that your article concept is of curiosity to her readers and that you’re the perfect particular person to write it.

Query letters save everyone time. In the time that might have taken you to write a full article, you possibly can write a few question letters which can end in multiple task. Query letters save editors’ time as a result of they do not have to learn prolonged manuscripts which is probably not appropriate for his or her magazines.

Query letters higher your probabilities of working with the journal you need to write for. Editors are often reluctant to ask for a rewrite or recommend substantial adjustments to a completed piece. Query letters, however, make it straightforward for editors to supply options to a proposed concept.

Even in case your concept is just not fairly appropriate for the journal, the editor could like the best way you have offered your concept and your self and should still be occupied with working with you on a completely different task.

I hope by now you might be satisfied that question letters are important to breaking into the writing trade, particularly if you’re simply beginning out. So it is properly well worth the effort and time to compose an irresistible letter that makes the editor need to see extra of your writing.

Your question letter is just not the one one the editor will see, so you need to do your finest to make yours stand out from the group and get seen. A single question letter could make or break your success as a author. Editors keep in mind names. Make positive they keep in mind yours in a constructive manner.

If your question letter is professionally written and attention-grabbing, even when your concept is probably not fairly proper, the editor will mentally clock your title. If your question is accepted, and also you full your task with a well-written, well-researched and error-free article, she’ll keep in mind you much more. And your subsequent question shall be seen in a extra beneficial gentle. This implies that a good question is commonly the start of a long-standing relationship between you and the editor.

If you ship an unprofessional, poorly-written question, suggesting concepts which don’t match the journal, the editor will keep in mind you, too. But now she remembers you in a destructive manner. The subsequent time you ship her a question, she could shortly look at it and put it within the bin. You could also be closing the door to that journal perpetually by sending a single dangerous question. Do you really need to take that danger?

Nothing is assured in life. Even a good question letter doesn’t assure an task. But when you following the 10 steps outlined on this ebook, you’ll stand a significantly better likelihood of manufacturing a skilled question letter that will get learn and will get assignments.

Note: To keep away from cumbersome writing reminiscent of he/she and his/her, I’ve taken the freedom to refer to an editor as a ‘she’.

Step 1: Get the title proper

When you obtain a letter addressing you as ‘Dear Customer’ or ‘Dear Home Owner’, do you’re feeling the letter is speaking to you straight?


It reads like spam that has been despatched to tens of millions of different individuals, would not it? If you ship an editor a letter addressing her as ‘Dear Editor’ or ‘Dear Sir / Madam’, she’s going to get the impression that not a lot effort and time has gone into the question, and he or she’d be proper.

If there’s one factor all freelance writers ought to know, it’s that your article have to be focused particularly for a specific journal. In order on your article to slot in with the model and tone of the journal, the editor will count on you to have learn a few problems with the publication.

A question letter starting with ‘Dear Sir’ tells the editor that you haven’t taken the time to analysis the publication. If you have not learn the journal, you will not know something concerning the viewers. And if you do not know who the viewers is, how can the editor belief you to ship an article that’s suited to the journal? So, when you solely do one factor to make your question stand a higher likelihood of success, get the editor’s title.

Larger publications typically have completely different editors for various sections, and it is essential to ship your question to the correct particular person. When a options editor receives a brief story, she could not have the time or inclination to ahead it to the brief story editor, and your question shall be unread. So take a while to discover out when you want to ship your question to someone aside from the primary editor. You can often discover all the knowledge you want within the masthead.

If you do not need to spend cash shopping for each journal you need to write for, go to a giant newsagent or the library and lookup the names there at leisure. Another manner is to ring up the editorial workplace and ask the secretary.

Bear in thoughts that journal personnel adjustments repeatedly, so verify that the title remains to be legitimate each time you ship a question letter.

Make positive you spell the editor’s title accurately. Some editors are mad about having their names spelt mistaken. Besides, if you cannot get the small print of her title proper, why ought to she belief you to get the small print of the article proper?

It is appropriate to tackle the editor merely as ‘Dear John Doe’ or ‘Dear Jane Doe’ relatively than ‘Dear Mr Doe’ or ‘Dear Ms Doe’. Nowadays it is not at all times attainable to inform somebody’s gender by his or her title. In the case of ladies editor, it’s notably troublesome to verify if she is a Miss, Ms or Mrs.

Step 2: Know your viewers

Imagine this state of affairs:

You are a 35-year-old profession lady. You subscribe to a journal known as ‘Women Today’. You just like the journal since you really feel that it caters for ladies such as you. It addresses the wants of those that have to juggle between their roles as profession ladies, wives and moms. It affords vogue ideas on your age group and good recommendation for busy mother and father. It additionally has an inspirational brief story in every subject.

Now picture this:

At the top of a busy day, after the youngsters have gone to mattress and all of the dishes have been accomplished, you open your ‘Women Today’ and look ahead to a good learn, solely to discover that the journal is now stuffed with magnificence ideas for teenage ladies; information about pop bands; recommendation on what to do on a first date; and the brief story is gone.

You can be forgiven for considering that you have introduced the mistaken journal, and also you’d in all probability cease shopping for it any more and search for one other one to fill the void.

Driving readers away is the very last thing editors need to do. That’s why most magazines stick to a tried-and-trusted formulation that fits the focused readers.

The ethical of the story is that there isn’t a level in submitting the mistaken sort of article concepts to editors. Your article could also be superbly written, well-researched and error free, but when it is about teenage being pregnant then it is not going to get printed in a journal for the over-50s.

Likewise, article concepts about having fun with one’s life in retirement are unlikely to be accepted by editors of magazines focused at youngsters. Your concepts have to be proper for the magazines you are sending your queries to.

You ought to learn at the very least two problems with the journal to get to know the tone, model and the common size of the articles. Again, use a library or a giant newsagent when you want to.

Don’t overlook to take a look at the ads, which is able to inform you a lot concerning the journal’s supposed viewers. An article about fashionable wine bars is unlikely to be of curiosity to a journal promoting stair lifts.

Reading the journal may even make sure that you are not attempting to pitch an concept that has appeared in a current subject.

Many magazines now publish their submission pointers on their web sites, so verify these out first to get an concept concerning the form of articles they need. If you possibly can’t discover pointers on the web site, write to the editorial workplace with an SAE asking for author’s pointers. Most magazines shall be completely satisfied to ship you a copy.

The backside line is, editors solely print what their readers need to learn. So if in case you have an concept that appeals to a journal’s viewers, it would additionally enchantment to the editor. And the one manner to discover out what the readers need is to learn the journal your self.

Step 3: A grand opening

Make your opening sentence give you the results you want. Make it attention-grabbing and make it a masterpiece. Editors are busy individuals and you’ve got about 30 seconds to get their consideration. If you start your question with a boring assertion, she’s going to merely scan by way of your letter and transfer on to the following one. Don’t give her any excuse to cease studying your letter. Present your concept as early within the letter as attainable.

Your first sentence might be an intriguing query, an attention-grabbing reality, a quote from somebody you interviewed, an anecdote, a statistic, a riddle or a joke applicable to your concept.

Don’t ever start your letter with:

‘Although I’ve by no means been revealed earlier than …’

‘I’m new to writing however …’

‘My mom thinks I ought to submit this text concept …’

You get the drift. Comments like these scream amateurism. No editors need to work with amateurs.

Step 4: Get to the purpose shortly

Don’t over-stay your welcome by waffling on about inappropriate private particulars. Editors will not be occupied with the truth that you wrestle to discover time to write as a mother-of-two, for instance.

Explain to the editor why your article concept is exclusive and the way it’s of curiosity to her and her readers. Include a provisional opening paragraph if attainable, however provided that you suppose it would seize the editor’s consideration and make her need to know what comes subsequent. Say how you’ll get the knowledge required to write the article; for instance, by interviewing consultants on the subject.

If you have not labored with the editor earlier than, embody transient details about your self. If you might have particular {qualifications} to write about this specific article, be sure you let her know. For instance, if in case you have a science diploma and your article concept is about making science attention-grabbing to most of the people, then say so.

Indicate how lengthy your article shall be. Make positive that is consistent with the common size of comparable articles within the journal. Make it clear to the editor that the size might be different to go well with her wants.

Make your question a single A4 web page. If you possibly can’t condense your concept on one web page, you want to work on it extra to get it extra targeted.

Don’t embody multiple concept in a question. The solely exception is if you’re sending fillers. Even then it must be not more than 2 pages. Number your fillers clearly.

Step 5: Be skilled

Professionalism is the important thing to success. The high quality of your writing is in fact essential, however so is the picture you mission as a skilled author.

Be businesslike. You could also be feeling despondent about having obtained 5 rejections in a week, however do not spill your feelings. At this level, an editor is a potential consumer, not a private good friend, though she could turn into so upon getting labored together with her on a common foundation.

If you possibly can afford it, get a professional-looking letterhead designed and printed at a printer. It needn’t be too costly. If you personal a laser printer, you possibly can design a easy, elegant letterhead your self in your pc. Make it minimal. Don’t strive to use all of the accessible fonts and colors in your phrase processor, and resist the temptation to embody foolish clip-arts in your letterhead. If you need to embody graphics, get a brand designed professionally.

Include important particulars reminiscent of your title, postal and e mail addresses, phone and fax quantity.

Don’t count on the editor to pay for return postage. If you need to get a reply, you need to embody an SAE.

Editors need articles which are well-researched and error-free. If you question is filled with errors, editors will doubt your capability to produce high-quality articles.

Don’t depend on spell-checkers solely. Read your question letters out loud; this makes it simpler to spot spelling and grammatical errors. Get a good friend or relative to proof-read your queries. Don’t ship them out except you recognize they’re error-free.

Step 6: Be targeted

It might be true that every thing has been written about at the very least as soon as. Your activity is to discover a special approach. Do you might have one thing new to say about your matter? Or are you able to say one thing that is already been mentioned in a new manner?

Don’t write to an editor suggesting you need to write an article about cooking or dyslexia. This is just too generic. On the opposite hand, queries entitled ‘Quick Mouth-watering Recipes for Busy Mums’ or ’10 tell-tale indicators of dyslexia in kids’ are targeted.

Editors like concepts which are targeted as a result of they will image how and the place the completed articles will match into their magazines. Make your question targeted and editors will love you.

Many magazines have common sections. If you possibly can point out to the editor which part of the journal your article will match into then all the higher. This tells the editor that you’ve got studied the journal, which is able to put your in her favour.

Step 7: Mail or e mail, however no telephone

Before you ship out your question, verify that your submission methodology is appropriate. Some magazines is not going to take a look at e mail queries, others insist on them. Do not question by phone except you might have labored with an editor on a few events and are positive that she would not thoughts.

Sending your question through the mistaken methodology as soon as once more reveals the editor that you haven’t frolicked finding out their publications and pointers. This will put you on the blacklist and jeopardise probabilities of acceptance of your future queries.

If you are querying by e mail, it’s best to paste your question into the physique of the e-mail, relatively than sending it as an connected doc. This is as a result of attachments are infamous for spreading pc viruses, and editors who haven’t labored with you earlier than shall be unlikely to open an attachment from an unknown supply.

Emails are nice for maintaining in contact with family and friends, and we frequently undertake a casual tone in emails. When you e mail an editor, nonetheless, write it as you’d a formal letter. Resist the temptation to use smilies ( ) or abbreviations generally used on the web. Don’t over-use punctuation marks, like this!!!!!!! AND DON’T USE ALL CAPITAL LETTERS IN YOUR EMAIL. IT MAKES IT VERY DIFFICULT TO READ.

I’d additionally recommendation towards placing the phrase ‘Query’ within the topic line of your e mail. Editors are busy individuals. On a day when she is inundated with emails and letters, and confronted with a deadline two days away, she could properly reply to that ‘oh no one other question’ by deleting it with out studying it.

Step 8: Clips, or no clips

If you are a revealed author, embody a couple of your finest clips with the question, however provided that the clips are applicable to the concept you are proposing. There is little level in sending a clip on native historical past in case your question is about nice wines.

If you have by no means been revealed earlier than, do not draw the editor’s consideration to the very fact. If the one locations you have been revealed are native church newsletters or obscure web sites with doubtful status, it is best not to point out them. It’s significantly better to merely current your self in a skilled method in your question letter. If you act like a professional, the editor will assume you are a professional and can deal with you as one. Let your irresistible question letter and its professionalism converse for you.

Step 9: Learn out of your rejections

It’s ready time as soon as you have despatched your question off. Unfortunately editors are busy individuals and the ready time can vary from a week to three months.

If you have not heard from the editor in 4 weeks, comply with it up with a well mannered letter or e mail. If you continue to have not heard something after three months, assume it is a rejection and transfer on.

For new writers, rejections might be soul-destroying. Just if you end up feeling extra assured about your writing, alongside comes a rejection letter, leaving you doubtful as to whether or not you might be ok to be a author.

It’s essential to realise that getting rejections is a part of a profitable author’s life. It implies that you make contact with the publishing world. Don’t let rejections cease you from sending out extra queries. Be persistent, be skilled and you’ll get revealed.

While you need to strive not to let the rejection get you down, it’s best to spend a while analysing why your final question has not produced a constructive response earlier than re-submitting it to one other journal. Was it applicable to the publication? Did you begin your question with an attention-grabber? Did you ship it to the correct particular person? Did you ship it within the submit when the journal insists on e mail submissions (or vice versa)? Did you embody sufficient data for the editor to make a resolution? Did you embody an SAE?

Every rejection is one step ahead in your writing profession. Learn from them and use them to make your subsequent question higher.

Step 10: Give it 100%

Some writers, particularly new writers, argue that they need to be spending their time writing ‘one thing correct’ relatively than writing question letters. The hassle is, when you do not write question letters, your ‘correct writing’ could by no means be revealed and be learn.

A question letter is a gross sales letter. To the editor, it is a sign of the standard and magnificence of your writing. If she is impressed with what she reads in your question, she’ll belief your capability to write the completed article.

Don’t ever dismiss writing queries as a waste of time. To a author, nothing written is ever wasted. Think of it because the gateway to your success as a freelance author. Follow the steps outlined on this ebook and provides it 100% each time you write a question letter. Now all you want are good concepts. But that is one other story.

Happy writing!

— — — — — — — — — —


1. How not to write a question letter

[No Date]

[Do return address and contact details]

ABC Magazine

123 High Street

Another Town

Dear Mrs Smith

I’ve by no means written to an editor earlier than, however I’ve a fantastic article concept about horses. I began using since I used to be a baby, so I believed I might write an article on your journal about horses.

I have not learn your journal however a good friend instructed I ought to write to you to see when you’d be occupied with my concept. I’ve written a couple of things for the local people publication and my household and pals suppose my writing is just not dangerous.

Please let me know as quickly as attainable if you’re occupied with my concept. I provides you with a name subsequent week to talk about the small print.

Emma Johnson

[no SAE enclosed]

2. Example of a skilled question letter

[Professional letterhead, or clearly printed contact details]

20 October 2002

Anne Smith

ABC Magazine

123 High Street

Another Town

Dear Anne Smith

What.. what.. ought to a pa.. pa.. guardian do if.. if.. if.. a baby st.. began stammering?

Many would merely hold their fingers crossed and hope that the kid would ‘develop out of it’. However, analysis reveals that whereas most kids do outgrow this drawback, some will develop persistent stammering into later life.

Stammering often begins between the ages 2 and 5, and early intervention is significant in stopping it from creating into a persistent drawback. I’m assured that your readers, a giant variety of whom are mother and father of 2- to 5-year-olds, shall be occupied with a 1000-word article entitled ‘Help! My Child Has Started Stammering’. The article shall be a superb match for the Toddler Development part in your journal.

I’m a speech therapist and have labored with kids who stammer. I may even interview two consultants on this area to embody the newest findings on childhood stammering.

Thank you for taking the time to think about my concept. I enclose an SAE on your response.

Yours sincerely

Emma Johnson