The Renegade Writer

Here’s a Successful Query for a Surprising Sex Article–And 5 Reasons It Worked

article_query_dojo_mojoMany writers ask me for examples of query letters that worked to land magazine assignments.

You can get a packet of 10 queries that worked by signing up for my email list, and a Kindle copy of The Renegade Writer’s Query Letters That Rock costs only $2.99.

Still want more? You got it! Below is a query by yours truly that sold to Women’s Health.

Dojo Mojo
Martial Arts Techniques to Kick Up Your Sex Life

Men often expect their lovers to be gymnasts in the bedroom — but it’s even better if they’re martial artists. Women’s Health readers don’t have to be able to throw someone over their shoulder to get the benefits of martial mattress training — in “Dojo Mojo: Martial Arts Techniques to Kick Up Your Sex Life,” I’ll tell readers whose only contact with martial arts is watching kung fu movies how to use elements of karate, tae kwon do, and other fighting arts to put the moves on their husbands. For example:

  • Use your voice. In karate, it’s called a “kiai” — a yell that focuses your energy, gives you power, and scares away attackers. In the same way, making noise makes you more powerful in bed (though it WON’T scare your sweetie). “When you hold back sound, you hold back sexual energy,” says Ava Cadell, Ph.D., a sex therapist in Los Angeles and a black belt in shotokan karate. “Making sounds lets your partner know you’re having a great time — it’s validating. It also releases sexual energy from way down in the gut so you’re able to feel a full body orgasm.”
  • Practice libido bushido. “Bushido” literally means “the way of the warrior,” and part of practicing bushido is keeping focused on the task at hand. “Sure, the kitchen needs to be cleaned and the laundry needs to be done, but a true warrior stays in the moment and doesn’t get distracted,” says Jennifer Lawler, Ph.D., a black belt in tae kwon do and author of Dojo Wisdom: 100 Simple Ways to Become a Stronger, Calmer, More Courageous Person. “In a fight, it’s deadly, and in the bedroom, it makes you quickly lose steam. Once you’re in the mood, make it a practice not to think of the other chores or worries awaiting you.”
  • Keep eye contact. Martial artists keep eye contact while sparring to prevent giving away their next move and to get in tune with their sparring partners. Use this same technique to get in tune with your man. “Eye contact enhances intimacy, which is a deeper form of lovemaking,” says Cadell. “I suggest eye-gazing. Hold eye contact as much as possible during the entire experience. This will keep the two of you in a place of union and help you tune into each other through the eyes.”

Other martial arts moves to use in the bedroom include using your hips for power, being flexible (mentally as well as physically), practicing “no-mind,” and tightening your muscles at the end of a move.

I’m a brown belt in Okinawan karate. Martial arts are hot these days — 12 million people in the U.S. are into martial arts and kickboxing, including Taryn Manning, Paula Abdul, Carmen Electra, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette — and sex, well, sex is always hot. May I write “Dojo Mojo: Martial Arts Techniques to Kick Up Your Sex Life” for you?

FIve reasons this query sold:

  1. Sometimes I think you can sell an article with just a kick-ass title.
  2. Notice how I gave stats to show how popular martial arts are, to prove to the editor that her readers would be interested in my idea. These were easy to find with a Google search.
  3. I interviewed two people for this query, and ended up using their quotes in the article once it was assigned. Jennifer is a friend of mine who happened to be perfect for the article, and I disclosed my relationship with her to my editor. The second person I found with a ProfNet search.
  4. I included three of my tips to give the editor an idea of how I envisioned the article working, and to prove I had good advice to offer.
  5. My experience in martial arts helped sell the article. So if you have any sort of background in the topic you’re pitching, let the editor know! (FYI, I didn’t include my publishing credits as I had already written for this editor.)

If you have a pitch that sold, and you’d like to share it with my readers, zap me an email at Thanks!

Sep 9, 2013 Advice, Query letters

5 Responses

  1. Holly Bowne says:

    This is fabulous, Linda! What a cool idea. I really appreciate how you pointed out how you got your statistics and expert quotes.

    So, for the ProfNet expert, did you specifically ask for a sex therapist with martial arts experience? (Just curious!) And, how long did it take you to find her once you put in the request?

  2. LOVE this, Linda! It’s easy to see why you’re a ‘black belt’ in magazine writing! The wheels are already turning as to what cool idea I can squeeze out of my Pilates training…. :-)

    Thx for always sharing such pithy advice!

  3. Mande' Davis says:

    Wonderful and entertaining advice. Query letters are dreadful things to write, but you made me look at them a bit differently. Thanks

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