When I worked as Editor, my e-mail box was usually filled with what was deemed query letters from novice or wannabe writers. In short, they were e-mails addressed to the Editor as opposed to my name and generally stated that I would be missing out if I didn’t employ their services. Of course, they were deleted.
Briefly, a query is your pitch, be it to an Agent, Publisher or the Editor of a Magazine. A query should include the idea that you are selling, how you intend to develop it, your familiarity with the magazine and what qualifies you to write the article. These are the general prerequisites.
Allied to this, magazines have guidelines and most generally set a theme two to three months in advance, in some instances, six months. Further, they are magazines who publish monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly or seasonally. Hence, there is no point sending a query for an article to be published at Christmas, in November. This is where researching a magazine’s guidelines is crucially important. A simple telephone call will save you enormous trouble in the future as you will see exactly what they are seeking, when they are seeking and how you should approach them.
Unless you are a subscriber to a specific magazine and is familiar with its content, tone, style and topic, it is in your best interest to review at least six months back copies. Analyze them with a fine teeth comb noting such things as content. Is it a Women’s magazine, Christian and so forth? Next, check the length, tone, style and length of the articles. Check too to see who writes for them. Some magazines like O Magazine do not work with freelance writers. They already have in-house staff writers and one is generally invited to contribute. See also the type of images and photos they use, perhaps you can supply the photos and bump up your fees.
The above may appear tedious at first, but in the end if you are serious about writing for a magazine, your research will only stand you in good stead when you present your query.
© 2009 Cherry-Ann Carew
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE, NEWSLETTER, MAGAZINE OR WEBSITE? Please do, but ensure you include this complete resource box with it: Cherry-Ann Carew is The Power Write Coach and Editor of Writetastic Solutions. Learn how her coaching and editing services can help you become a published author at www.writetasticsolutions.com.