Is your query letter good enough to make an editor fall in love with you?
Admit it or not, you’re probably at least a little emotionally invested in that query letter when you send it off to an editor.
You work hard on it, interview sources, research, and chip away at writing the perfect lede and headline.
And it would be nice to get a little something in return. Right?
An email. A phone call. A text message. A letter in the mail. Smoke signals. Anything that let’s you know your query letter hit home when the editor read your pitch. Or even better than that…a contract.
But let’s face it. Sometimes the writer-editor relationship is, well, complicated. You put your heart and soul into a story idea, send it off, and nothing happens.
So how do you write a query letter that gets you noticed? Here are X ways to make an editor fall in love with your pitch:
Note: In this post from the past, you’ll learn about one easy method to come up with story ideas that never gets old. Enjoy! —Carol.
Are you short on story ideas to pitch magazine editors?
A lot of writers make it a lot harder than it needs to be to come up with story ideas to land an assignment.
You try and be ultra clever. You spend countless hours doing research looking for a nugget of information…and then another. Or you second guess every single one of the story ideas you come up with. Sound familiar?
Some story ideas deserve that kind of attention. But if you’re hustling to land more work and make more money, you need to pitch story ideas that sell.
And there’s one angle that few writers take the time to craft, but that often results in an easy sale.
What is this slam-dunk idea? Let me show you how it’s done:
Have you ever come up with a bunch of good freelance ideas and then tossed them in the virtual trash?
You brainstorm some freelance ideas for a query or letter of introduction to land an assignment. You even write up a partial pitch.
And then for whatever reason (fear, procrastination, shiny-object syndrome, or too many open windows on your computer), those freelance ideas never make it to the Great Beyond.
Been there, done that?
If your hard drive looks like the inside of a hoarder’s house stacked with unfinished freelance ideas in every corner, it’s time to put on some rubber gloves, and start digging through the trash.
Why? Some of your discarded freelance ideas are worth money, an assignment, your next best client.
Having a little hoarder freakout about now? Here’s what you need to do:
Are you a writer in search of an article idea? These days, the big-earning article writers have loads of ideas for editors.
But if you’re someone who really finds idea generation tough, there’s another way to earn well. You can do it by getting more mileage out of your short stack of ideas.
Get out of the habit of coming up with one article idea, landing an assignment, and then moving on.
Instead, think in terms of spinning that one little idea straw into a big pile of gold.
How? Here are ten different ways:
It’s been nearly 6 years since this post was originally published — and it’s been one of my most popular ever. The need to write strong query letters has only grown in the years since, so I thought it would be a good time to put it out there again. Enjoy!–Carol
I often have freelance writers tell me they don’t think writing a query letter is worth the effort. They get a lot of rejections, and feel it’s basically a crapshoot…and so much easier to sign on to a content-mill dashboard for a guaranteed few bucks’ worth of work.
It’s true that querying isn’t a sure thing. But if you take the time to learn this skill, it can really help you move up and earn big.
I regularly get lucrative assignments off of query letters and guest post pitches, and I continue to believe querying is a vital skill for successful freelancers.
With so many writers turned off of queries, taking the time to learn how to write a compelling query letter is well worth the effort, as it makes you stand out in today’s marketplace. Querying can open doors when you don’t know anyone at a publication or company, and make a connection that could turn into an ongoing relationship.
For instance: I recently sent one query letter that got me $6,000 of assignments. And I’m reproducing it in full below.