Many editors are willing to accept email queries, but not all of them, and that’s the first thing you need to know about the email query. But there’s more to this type of marketing than you might suspect. Here’s what you need to know:
- You’ve got to know if the editor or magazine accepts queries by email. Writers Market and other market listings often include this information; if not, pick up the phone and ask. If you can’t find out, use snail mail instead.
- If you’re going to send an e-query, make sure it goes to a particular editor rather than a generic or catchall address. If you can’t find a specific email address, use snail mail instead.
- Keep in mind that, like a snail mail query, your e-query is a marketing piece where you show a specific editor what you can do. Even though email can be quick, take time with this and make sure it’s right.
- Unless you’re instructed to do so, do NOT send an attachment with your e-query. There are so many viruses floating around many businesses, including publishers, delete them before they get to the desktop.
- Your subject line is key. Make it clear this email is a query and if you have a great title, use it, like this: Query – 10 Ways to Find Great Child Care
- Shorter is better than longer with an e-query. It does, however, need to be long enough to show why the article will work for the editor’s readers and why you should write it.
- Direct them to samples of your writing on your web site. You do have a web site, don’t you?
- Include your phone number as well as your snail-mail address—you want the editor to be able to contact you the way she wants to contact you.
- Double-check your spelling.
- Print the email query and read it out loud before you send it.
- Save a copy of each e-query on your computer. I have email folders for each client; you probably want to do something similar.
- Be patient; if you’ve heard nothing in two or three weeks email a brief, polite follow-up, or even better, pick up the phone and call.
- Since you don’t know what email program the editor is using, don’t indent and keep your line length at 80 characters or less—this will keep your e-query looking neat. If you draft it in word you may have to paste it into notepad and paste it into your email program after that.
- Send your e-query to yourself first to get a reasonably good idea of how it will look.
- Avoid any special formatting like bold—you simply don’t know what it will look like on the other end.
- Never, ever use html. Again, you don’t know if the editor’s email can handle html and even if it can, you’ll look like an amateur.
Have you had good luck with email queries?
Write well and often,
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