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freelance journalism

As freelancers, we have more than 7,000 magazines to pitch.

It’s been a few months since I’ve sent query letters to magazine editors and I’m about to send a batch. I had a few large content writing and resume projects over the summer, then my staycation, and now I’m in the middle of new SEO projects, drafting proposals for others, four resumes, prep for my upcoming Pen and Paddleand the manuscript of my next book. Details about the book will be shared here soon! (It’s for freelance writers, naturally.)

Also, the pitch period for Write Naked guest bloggers just closed (re-opens in 2017) and that means I just read 150+ queries in the past three months, so I’m acutely familiar with the mistakes writers are making in their query letters. Fortunately, I’m here to tell you a few key items to address before you send out your next query letter:

  1. Revise every time. Whenever your pitch is rejected, revise your query letter before you send it to a different market. There’s something ‘wrong’ with it – otherwise it would have worked. This may mean making it shorter, longer, revising the hook, changing the suggested title, making it sound more exciting, etc. You should never send the same query letter more than once – always revise!
  2. Embed links. Referencing past publications you’ve written for is great–especially when they are relevant to the topic you’re pitching–but editors are generally not going to take the time to Google you to locate the link. Make it easy for them to say yes by making it easy for them to view your samples. Use direct links – don’t just link to the magazine’s home page. (For those planning to pitch for a Write Naked guest blog spot in 2017, one of the items I request in the guidelines are links to your social media. I received dozens of queries with no links that simply say, “I’m on Twitter and Facebook.” That doesn’t help me. What if you post offensive content? Have no followers? Tweet about irrelevant topics? I need to consider these variables when I make a decision to accept a guest contributor.)
  3. Rotate your bio. Depending on the topic you’re pitching and the publication, your bio paragraph in your query letter will likely change from market to market. When I pitch articles related to film I am sure to include in my bio that I have a degree in cinema. When I pitch articles related to agricultural marketing, I don’t mention my degree and instead cite my pre-freelance background in public relations and marketing management.

Stay tuned for more query tips! I’ll share more on Twitter @writenaked under #querymagic.

Register for my teleseminar 5 Magazine Queries That Worked for Me. The session starts at 1PM EST on Monday, October 17th. If you can’t make it on the scheduled day/time, registrants will receive a recording of the session. This is a 45-minute session followed by a 15-minute Q&A. I’ll tell the story behind five magazine/newspaper query letters that secured paid published articles. You’ll receive copies of the letters. Learn how I connected with the editors, where I got my story topics from, found sources, and how much I got paid. Advance registration required – register here. $29

Did you know you could have pre-registered for the seminar? I offer early registration to my newsletter subscribers.