Queries are vitally important for marketing articles to a magazine. This is the act of presenting an idea or article to a magazine publication, electronic or paper, in the hope of getting and offer for a job. Most specifically freelance writers will write a query in the form of a letter to gain a magazine editor's attention in the hopes of selling a freelance article for money.  Knowing how to write one of these types of letters is important to getting your writing published.

How do you write one that gains the attention it deserves from a magazine editor? Freelance magazine article writers searching for their next online writing job in this field will need to design a query letter the right way for success.

What you are trying to convey

When you write one to an editor it says as a freelance writer I have a terrific article of interest for you and your newspaper or magazine and here are some of the details. It will continue to outline the premise of a storyline and content with a promise to deliver an extraordinary piece of substance to leave an audience completely satisfied and possibly wanting more. This says a lot about you as a writer, but then again don’t put it out there if you are unable to deliver.

Query writing is not an art form, but just like anything else it does take a bit of talent and practice to become good at it. This will show the outline of a good query letter.

Focus on a publication’s audience

Study the publication’s audience and focus on them for creating content. You can write for any type of audience and then select a publication to match the content or vice versa. Regardless of which way you prefer, the magazine article is tailored for the audience the publication is created for. Connect your article and the audience to each other. This assures that the editor is on the lookout for your type of content. You are not wasting your time or theirs.

Write to an individual and not a department

Know your audience is a mantra cited continually when writing any type of article. This is particularly important in this case. Lots of publications using freelancers for their work will publish writer’s guidelines. Obtain a copy of the writer’s guidelines if possible to make your job easier and more detailed.

This will assure that you write within the confines of the newspaper or magazines requirements. Always send this kind of letter addressed directly to a specific person's attention. Don’t send it to general staff, this will have your work missing the important desk you need to hit. Use the editorial staff members name on your letter.

Professionalism is crucial for your query letter

As a skilled writer professionalism is crucial to cultivating your career. When you are building this kind of correspondence, make certain you adhere to professional standards. All material contained in one is free of grammatical and spelling errors if done correctly. 

Verify all information is correct, particularly the publication name along with the name of the editor. Apply formal salutations and closings in it. Use professional standard fonts, the current date, colors and standard spacing between paragraphs. Additionally, the letterhead should have your name, address and phone number. If you are unable to include it at the top, use the bottom for contact information.

Use standard mail or email for delivery. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope for snail mail letters. The self-addressed stamped envelope is for the magazine editor to return either your article or a written response directly to you. Draw on samples of formal letters if you need to find the type of business letter format your letter should mimic.

Create your query letter content

Now we come to the difficult part. This is where talent and ability both play a role in developing content for a query letter. You want to design to impress. Interest and persuasion are both taken into account. Imagine the amount of freelance writers with a wish to see their articles published in magazines.  This is the amount of query letters submitted to editors by writers just like you every day, week or month.

You need to fashion content that makes you stand out from the rest and an editor reads and says this is the one. Additionally, once you have your foot in the door with a successful contact using one, you will receive a freelance writing assignment for money. You can bet that a relationship will ensue between you and the editor. They will remember you and give you an edge the next time their publication needs articles.

Introducing fresh, innovative, ideas and topics, even unique angles to an editor on the lookout for their magazine’s next freelance article makes you different from other writers.

Focus on the point as soon as possible

This is a short focused synopsis of your overall article. Don’t deliver the article by way of your letter. It should never be more than one page. Specifics are important. Outline what you intend to include or even in some cases exclude from your freelance writing article. Always let the editor know what the length of the project will be.

You are providing a compelling teaser for your magazine article using this vehicle. You will know your level of success and if you have given enough interest to compel an editor to take it one step further if they show a desire for your article. They will contact you with further instructions.

What to do after an interest shown

After you receive contact from an interested editor, respond promptly to their response. If they have any questions or concerns for you, address them in detail with professionalism. Having a response to your letter for more info is a big darn deal and if you want to play hard to get there are literally hundreds of other writers waiting for the same opportunity. Playing hard to get will mean the editor will move on to the next writer instead of you.

After displaying an interest in your article, typically they will ask for a copy of it sent it in as soon as possible. Include a cover letter with it that briefly reminds them of the previous correspondence surrounding the request.

In conclusion

Freelance writers with an interest in writing for a magazine will need to learn to design or write a query that successfully sells their writing skills to editors. Your first, second, third and maybe even your tenth query letter will go unnoticed. However, writing a query letter the right way will in due course get an editor to take an interest in your excellent writing and you can add magazine writing to your professional writing resume.

Writer's Market is a resource to help with finding editor info

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