How are your query-letter writing muscles?
Go ahead…flex. Take a good look at your best writing assignments. Happy with your results? Feeling stuck? Or just starting out?
If you’re looking for ways to move up, earn more, and land better assignments as a freelance writer, there’s always room for improvement.
Think of it like this…Writing a great query letter is a lot like lifting weights. You get stronger one rep at a time. It’s hard. It takes practice. But when you follow the right steps, you WILL get better at it.
Want stronger query-letter skills?
Maybe you’re new to freelancing and your pitch skills are weak. Or maybe your query letters are landing zero assignments, and you could use a little help.
Maybe you’re standing in the middle of the gym with a confused look on your face. It doesn’t have to be like that.
Ready for a query letter workout to strengthen your pitch skills? Let’s do this.
So you want to get into travel writing?
Every day you flick through dozens of glossy magazine features. You scroll past hundreds of aspirational Instagram posts about travel writing.
You’ve probably even heard about some Irish guy who started with a $50 ad on his travel blog and went on to earn $1 million in three years from travel writing.
It all sounds so romantic, like stepping into Ernest Hemingway’s shoes and galavanting across the globe chasing travel writing assignments. And you start to have thoughts like this:
- Thought 1: Here I am in an office cubicle, staring at a screen that’s way too bright.
- Thought 2: Where the hell’s the dimmer switch? Wait, maybe I am the dimmer switch.
- Thought 3: I want a million dollars. Maybe I can earn that much from travel writing.
Is travel writing all fun and frolics on beaches with cocktails? No. But you can make a great living as a travel writer…I’ve been doing it for more than a decade.
Want to be a travel writer? These six tips will point you in the right direction…
Can you land a freelance magazine assignment without any clips?
If you’re new to freelancing and don’t have a lot of writing experience, it’s easy to think you can’t.
But it’s just not true.
About a year ago, I started at ground zero. I was pitching local newspapers and charity organizations. And I wasn’t getting anywhere. Not even low-paying gigs or pro bono work.
How was I ever going to land a magazine assignment without any clips?
Fortunately, Carol set me straight. “You need to learn how to pitch successfully,” she said.
Instead of chasing dead-end clients, I decided to go big and pitch a major magazine – the kind of magazine that has a massive readership, millions in ad revenue, and a freelance budget that pays pro rates.
And it worked. Pitch accepted.
Want to know how I did it? Here’s how you can land a major magazine assignment without any clips or experience.
Ever wonder what magazine editors are thinking?
You know they sift through a ton of query letters and pitches. And many of those end up in the slush pile.
They’re always on a deadline. Probably a little stressed. And they count on freelance writers to help produce great content for their publication and readers.
But what is it that magazine editors look for in a pitch or query letter? And how do you get past the delete button when an editor opens their email?
If you want to write for magazines, even pro freelancers will tell you rejection is part of the gig.
But if you can learn to think the way magazine editors do, you’ll significantly increase your chances of making a connection and landing assignments to make a living writing.
We recently caught up with two smart freelancers to learn more about what it’s like for magazine editors, what they’re looking for, and how to stand out when you pitch a story idea. Here’s what you need to know:
Want to write for magazines?
It’s a great way to make a living writing if you pitch the right publications. How about $500 or more per assignment?
If you’ve been cranking out magazine stories for $50 to $150 a pop, you may be wondering if that’s really even possible. That’s often the going rate for local, regional, or small-circulation magazines.
If you want to write for magazines, and have limited experience, these are great places to get some clips, and earn some money, but it shouldn’t be your last stop.
Many consumer and trade magazines pay $500 or more per assignment. And the pitching process is pretty much the same as smaller pubs:
- Identify a magazine you want to write for
- Study the submission guidelines
- Develop a solid story idea
- Do a little research and interview a source
- Write a killer query letter, and pitch your story idea to an editor
If you can do that, you’ve got the chops to get paid well to write for magazines. But you need to know where to look for those $500-plus assignments. Check out these 25 magazines to get started.
You write a pitch letter, send it off, and get nothing.
That ever happened to you? Every freelance writer knows what it’s like.
You crank out queries and letters of introduction to editors and marketing managers.
You try some heavy-lifting techniques to engage prospects and land assignments.
You even flex your writing muscles and try different approaches to crafting pitch letters.
That’s exactly what you should be doing. But your pitch has to be strong enough to get noticed.
If your pitch letter is weak, it’s gonna feel a lot like working out at the gym, even though you’re not really sure if what you’re doing is working.
And that’s not what you want. You want to connect with prospects, land assignments, and make a living writing. Right?
If you’re not getting the results you want when you send a pitch letter, it’s time to get some help.
Ready to buff up your pitch letter? Here’s a chance for a free review: