Dove Into Writing First Magazine Query

Magazines to read

Magazines to read (Photo credit: Longzero)

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?

Writing Progress and Plans

Yahoo! symbol design

Image via Wikipedia

It has been a very busy week and different than my usual routine.  I have not done as much writing as I would have liked to, but did manage to finish an editorial piece to submit to the Yahoo! Contributor Network.  I also started working on another couple of articles for next week.  I have really enjoyed writing for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.  I have even taken on some writing assignments there, which were not for pay and just for display only, but gave me some practice writing other things a little out of my comfort zone.  For example, I have not written a short story since high school, yet attempted to write a science fiction story.  It may not have been “great”, but it was fun.  Here is the link and if you have any feedback you are welcome to tell me as I am one of those people who can handle constructive criticism well : http://voices.yahoo.com/alliance-earth-planet-vermilla-sabotaged-11006896.html .

The pieces I usually prefer to write are articles and poetry.  It was nice this week to come in after a horrible day and have good news waiting in my email inbox alerting me some of my writing was published on Yahoo! Voices.  Here are links to two articles from this week :  http://voices.yahoo.com/save-money-through-yourself-repairs-10988874.html and http://voices.yahoo.com/first-person-learning-through-yourself-projects-10988638.html .  So far I have earned close to $12, which may not be much, but everyone has to begin somewhere.  The Yahoo! Contributor Network has been user friendly to submit writing, has good forums for learning more information or asking questions, and I have even had rejected pieces approved if I followed the suggestions offered in the feedback.  If you are a beginner it is a place you may want to give a try.

Another idea I have seen in several places is to keep a list of article ideas you are working on, so I created a chart in Microsoft Works on my computer.  I titled it Writing Idea List.  It has columns for the idea, publication, date sent, and the result.  I took the ideas I had brainstormed in my notebooks and filled in the chart.  I think I will put it in a page protector and keep it near the computer or start a notebook maybe.  I am kind of a notebook queen around the house for organizing.

Finding resources seems to have been my final task for the week.  There were many treasures I discovered in a library visit, which included a 2010 edition of the Writers Market.  At a bookstore I looked through several writers magazines and finally settled on a copy of the Writer.  I decided I couldn’t buy them all(didn’t need to either) and this magazine had more articles I thought offered more helpful information.  Well, that was my writing progress for the week, but next week will hopefully be a fresh start and I plan to tackle magazine queries for some articles I am finishing up.