A few months ago I did submit some of my writing to different places, but never wrote a query letter. One was a poem entered in a contest for the Carolina Woman magazine, which I did not win but did receive back a very nicely worded rejection letter. The other has been primarily writing articles and submitting to the Yahoo! Contributor Network since February. I’ve been writing other articles and researching magazines I am interested in making submissions to, but honestly I think I have felt a little intimidated about writing query letters.
My writing doesn’t make me hesitate as I just write. Maybe I’ll hope someone likes it, but I don’t think about it too much. It’s not that I don’t care about the audience who may be reading my writing. I think it’s just I’ve spent so much of my life trying to make other people happy and often being quiet about things that my priority is speaking up even if some one may not like it or agree with it. Sometimes it’s something I’m writing from the heart. Other times it can be something I have to share I’m interested in, something I learned, or maybe something from my life.
Query letters on the other hand feel like one of those nice tidy things which if not done correctly like a form you fill out at the DMV office can lead to the demise of your writing. Hence my trepidation. Some things procrastination does not improved and just holds you back, so I decided to just jump in yesterday. Hooray, nice deep breath, I can officially say I have written my first query letter and begun in earnest to work on submitting some of my writing.
Through all of the reading I’ve been doing the last few months, there are a few basics I recall to query letters. A big one, which I am floored to learn not all people do, is to make sure to read submission guidelines and follow them. Another point is let your writing stand out by itself, but stick to the classics when it comes to a query letter and don’t try to make it stand out too much.
It’s not the time for creativity with a query letter on neon green paper and an unusual font. It’s best to use good old fashioned standard white paper and a font usually accepted such as arial or times new roman. A last point is just as you try to grab your reader’s attention, you want to grab the attention of the editor right away, so put an interesting idea or the “hook” of your article in the first paragraph.
There is a good article How to Write a Query Letter on the PoeWar website. In the beginning there is a list I really like of some of the advantages of writing query letters, which are worth considering as I’m learning some magazines do not require query letters. I did some of both yesterday. A few poems were submitted to one magazine without a query letter, but I submitted two stories to another magazine with a query letter.
What’s your favorite tip regarding query letters for submitting your writing?
- ARTICLE: Tips for Writing Good Query Letters VIA Irene Watson @bloggingauthors #mwn (motownwriters.wordpress.com)
- To what depths the Query Letter descends? (djlutz.wordpress.com)