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Freelance Writers Should Query For Year End Holidays Now

Sure, it’s only July, but if you want your freelance writing Christmas tips to show up in print, now is the time to start putting the queries together. The same is true for articles about Hanuka and Chinese New Year, Halloween, New Year’s parties – in fact any major celebration scheduled for the last quarter of the year.

The reason is that  magazines and large newspapers and even the bigger websites start getting their end of year articles in line starting about now. And many of them do look for freelance writers to fill their holiday pages. Even the bigger websites are planning earlier than they used to.

Keep in mind, this applies to articles that deal with what you might call generic holiday stuff – recopies, decorations, remembrances, etc.  Another term for this type of article, particularly on the web, is ‘ever-green.’ The idea, obviously, is whatever you write isn’t locked into a particular year even if it’s season specific.

Sure, there tend to be themes that show up every year. This year (2010) for example, I’m seeing lots of information on how Americans are traveling again after the ‘staycations’  of the last several years.

An article or two centered around travel and the holidays may very well sell. Freelance writers who can spot trends and write about them are popular among editors.

But so might something about helping your kids make their own Halloween costumes, or how to cook a gourmet turkey, or a vegetarian holiday meal.

Here’s one way to approach holiday ideas:

  • Round up all your holiday ideas in a single file so you know where they are and can see them all at once.
  • Using Writer’s Market find the consumer and trade magazines you’d like to approach, and read their guidelines. Some will actually spell out how far in advance they want holiday queries. If they do, follow those instructions precisely; if they don’t query now, at least for the big ones. For others it may make sense to wait a month or two.
  • If it’s a website you want to query, check out their About page, sometimes listed on top, often way down on the bottom. See if there are any clues there how to submit queries. Sometimes you won’t find anything. Look for a staff list and send a short email query to the likeliest editor.

  • Your local metropolitan newspaper will want such queries two or three months in advance – a telephone call will often get you the information you want.
  • Weekly newspapers probably don’t want queries more than three or four weeks in advance. Again, a telephone call to ask when and how is probably your best bet.

While your at it, you might want to schedule queries for next July, August and September too.

Writing for year end holidays requires thinking ahead.

How do you query for the holidays?


Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • KathleenL

    Wow Annie, thanks for the very helpful reminder!!!! and I really do mean it.

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