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journalist thinking

If you’re trying to land a literary agent for your manuscript or you want your byline to appear in a magazine, you have one thing in common: query letters. Your query letter is a reflection of your writing ability, how well you follow directions, how well you know the agent/publication, and why you are the best person to write what you’re pitching.

As an aspiring author or freelance journalist, writers face a number of challenges:

Competition. Some literary agents receive 300+ queries per day.

Timeliness. Your vampire YA novel might have been attractive before Twilight.

Human error. Addressing the query letter to the correct editor, but forgetting to change the magazine name.

Spam. Even with proper subject lines and an established email domain, your email might get filtered through to spam.

Excess. Your query is not a novel and not a magazine article. It’s the distilled “movie trailer teaser” version and it’s only purpose is to get the agent/editor to respond favorably.

If you’re an aspiring author, have you written your query letter yet? Some writers plan to wait until their manuscript is complete before they write their query letter. However, your query letter can guide how you write your book. Author Lyn Hawks explains more in her post about How a Query Can Help You Write Your Novel.

If you’re a freelance journalist, what do you find most challenging about querying?

I want to hear your challenges for two reasons:

  1. To help structure a query tip series on Write Naked to address what matters most to you.
  2. To build the agenda for a special query letter event I’m co-hosting with Lyn Hawks this March in Chapel Hill, NC.

Respond with your challenges in the comments below or email me!

query writing workshop