What Not to Do Wednesday: The Query Letter Blahs

When I was perusing the March Premium Green market guide (more info here) I came across an interview of freelancer Kristin, um, gee, well, I ‘ll check on that later. Anyway, the point is that Kristin had tons of great ideas. And great ideas are pretty darn important if you’re working towards Fame and Fortune in the publishing biz.

Smack dab in the middle of my perusing, it hit me. A classic What Not To Do was staring me in the face. Unfortunately, I was the one guilty of it. To wit: I hadn’t been effectively using the old “hook” in my query letters. Kristin made an excellent point about grabbing an editor’s attention. To wit: “If you haven’t got a lot of clips, you have to come up with an idea that an editor doesn’t dare pass up.” And that idea better be the very first thing in your query letter.

So listen, grasshopper. Don’t blah, blah, blah away in your query letter talking about anything and everything under the sun. Slap that editor with an idea so awesome, he or she won’t know what hit ’em. And you better get right to work on that. Because I’m telling you. Kristin had tons of great ideas.

4 thoughts on “What Not to Do Wednesday: The Query Letter Blahs

  1. Hi Cathy!Excellent post :o)Having reviewed so many query letters, the one thing writers seem to forget IS the hook. I don’t know if it’s because we are an online publication, and they think it’s more casual, but still, it’s always nice to see a strong lead and a fleshed-out idea. It helps the editors “see” what they’re getting, and helps make the decision process so much faster.I was very impressed with Krisin’s sample query letter–it had everything the editor needs to decide whether to go with the piece or not. She included four detailed examples that were almost mini-articles. It gives the editor that “Wow!” reaction. If I had time to freelance right now, I’d probably use that example as a template–tailor it to a different subject, send it out, and see what responses came in. =o)Thanks Cathy for the PG love, and never give up!Hugs,Angela

  2. Hi Cathy,Thanks for the great reminder about queries. I just went to a mini-workshop about pitching…in person or in a query letter. I put up some ways to practice your hook on my blog at http://www.suzannelilly.com. While that’s only a part of your query, it’s the most important part.Suzanne

I'm Always Fishing for Compliments. Wait! Comments! I meant Comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s