[tuesday]Although to most of the world the word, query, to ask a question, among freelance writers it has a much more specific meaning. Dictionary.com defines it as:
an inquiry from a writer to an editor of a magazine, newspaper, etc., regarding the acceptability of or interest in an idea for an article, news story, or the like: usually presented in the form of a letter that outlines or describes the projected piece.
But this definition doesn’t tell the whole story. A query is really a sales piece. The writer is trying to sell an editor or agent on an idea in hopes of getting a contract and earning some money. It’s important that when you write a query you remember that you’re really writing a sales letter or sales proposal.
With that in mind, here are some blogs about queries that you may find helpful:
- The Query Letter Wizard. Molli Nickell who has been a publisher and Time-Life editor, shares what she knows about getting published.
- Guide to Literary Agents Editor’s Blog is written by Chuck Sambuchino. He covers much more than queries, all aimed at helping you get published.
- QueryTracker provides good tips about queries and getting published.
- John Hewitt has two excellent articles on queries: How to Write a Query Letter and The Query Trap. The latter may seem like heresy the first time you read it. Read it again – it’s well worth considering.
- Maria Schneider, who used to be Editor-in-Chief of Writer’s Digest magazine, has a blog called Editor Unleashed. There she presents a guest post called Hate writing query letters? You’re not alone; another good read.
Do you have a favorite resource about queries? Tell us about it.