Write an effective query letter
A query letter is an editor’s first exposure to your writing. Whether you want to pitch to a consumer, trade, international, or niche magazine, the query should be succinct and include enough information to show you understand the topic and the reader, and you are qualified to write the piece.
Address the query to the correct editor
For example, Dear Mr./Ms. Smith. Avoid using “Dear Editor” whenever possible. Find the name of the editor or managing editor on the publication website and confirm their pronouns.
Open with a great hook
You only have about 10 seconds to catch an editor’s attention, so start your query with something interesting, such as an anecdote, jaw-dropping statistic, or a quote.
State the article content
This is the bulk of the query where you show the editor you are an authority on the topic and explain the main points you plan to cover in the article.
In this section, share the estimated word count, a specific department if there is one, experts you plan to interview, and any other information pertinent to the piece.
List your qualifications
Share your writing experiences, your expertise, and why you are the perfect person to write this article.
Insert a call to action
Add a quick one-sentence closing with something like, “I look forward to talking with you more about this idea.”
End with “thank you,” “sincerely,” or “best regards,” and include your name and contact information.
Stay at the forefront
Once you have turned in your article, the editor has read it and requested any revisions, and sends it off to print, it’s time to send another query for the publication. This will show that you have more ideas and are eager to continue writing for this magazine. Unlike more general markets where editors can often change from publication to publication, editors in the niche and trade markets tend to stick around for a long time, so forming a solid working relationship with them is a great way to continue getting more assignments.
Niche, trade, and international publications provide freelance writers many unique opportunities to pitch their ideas. If you haven’t considered these magazines in the past, maybe now’s the perfect time to expand your writing horizons.
Kerrie Flanagan is an author, writing consultant, and freelance writer from Colorado with over 20 years’ experience in the industry. She is the author of WD Guide to Magazine Article Writing. She moonlights in the world of romance with a co-author under the pen name C.K. Wiles (ckwiles.com) and in the sci-fi/fantasy realm under the pen name C.G. Harris (cgharris.net). KerrieFlanagan.com