More and more publications are accepting queries by email and they can be an effective way to market your writing. Here are 13 tips to make sure you are successful with your queries over the ‘net:
- Be sure the editor or publisher accepts queries by email. Writer’s Market and other market listings often include this information; if not, pick up the phone and ask.
- Email your query to a specific editor rather than to a generic email address. Again, if you don’t have that information, call and ask.
- Remember, no matter how it’s sent the purpose of a query is to sell you and your writing.
- Don’t send attachments unless you’re invited to. Many offices simply delete them to avoid virus problems, and you’ll never know.
- Your subject line is important. Make it clear your message is a query and if you have a great title, use it, like this: Query – 11 Ways to Find Great Elder Care
- Skip the Dear Ms. Smith and open with your strong selling first paragraph, preferably the first ‘graph of the proposed article.
- If all you can get is a generic email and you know the name of the editor, include it in the subject line: Ms. Smith – Query – 9 Ways to Save Gift Money
- Keep your query as short as you can while doing a good job.
- At the bottom, link to article samples on your web site.
- Make sure you include your phone number and your snail mail address – include your email address too just in case. Make it easy for editors to contact you.
- Double-check your spelling and grammar.
- Save a copy of each e-query on your computer – probably in an email query folder.
- Be patient; many guidelines give some indication of how long it takes for the market in question to respond. Honor that. If it goes more than a week or so beyond, send a follow up email – if there’s no indication, follow up gently in two or three weeks.
More tips about writing an email query
- Although most people use Outlook these days, don’t count on it. Keep your line length at 80 characters or less.
- Send the query to yourself first for final proof reading and to get a sense of how it looks.
- 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.
- No emoticons, pictures or anything other than a signature that helps the editor know you can write and how to contact you.
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