A query letter is the tool that opens doors at your dream magazines, both online and off. It shows an editor not only that you have a great idea, but also that you know how to organize your thoughts, that you can write in a clear and engaging way, that you have research and interviewing skills, and that you act like a professional. A simple letter shows a lot!
Due to demand from my e-course students and mentoring clients, I’m now offering query critiquing via e-mail. A query critique is something that I always offered as part of my 8-week e-course on breaking into magazines, but now you can get just the critique without having to go through (and pay for) all the lessons.
Here’s how it works: You send me a query letter you—ve completed before sending it to your target markets. I’ll read it over carefully and use the Track Changes function in Microsoft Word to make suggested changes and comment on everything from your organization to your word choice. I may suggest, for example, that you find stronger sources, structure your query differently, or tweak your title. I may also recommend that you play with your idea to make it more salable. And even more, if I happen to know of a good market for your idea that you hadn’t thought of, I’ll be sure to let you know.
I had been struggling with a short piece for a glossy for weeks — I was plagued by anxiety and self-doubt and going nowhere. Before deciding to toss the piece in the trash, I contacted Linda for help. Within a matter of days (and this was during Christmas, mind you!), Linda quickly assessed the problem (too wordy), and re-energized the piece (slice and re-organize the information), making the tone more lively and conversational. It’s the best $49 I have ever spent (and Christmas present to myself!). The best part: reading Linda’s edits in the margins which illustrate her thinking process and showed me, in a few simple steps, how she got from A (a few soggy paragraphs) to B (a tight, well-informed piece). It was a brilliant transformation (I call it being “Formichelli-ized”) that Linda ably pulls off while leaving the integrity and original voice of the piece intact. The learning that came away with from this experience has been invaluable and I look forward to her next critique.
NOTE: Kate sold her story to Redbook!
I’m not afraid to give thorough critiques ” and to let you know when something is simply not working.
So what makes me a query letter expert? First of all, I’m the co-author of The Renegade Writer’s Query Letters That Rock, in which I talk to dozens of editors about queries that knocked the editors? socks off. I’ve also written for more than 130 magazines, many of which I broke in to with query letters — from Family Circle to USA Weekend to Health. In addition, I’ve taught more than 300 students through my popular Write for Magazines e-course, so I have a handle on common query problems and how to solve them.
Students whose queries I’ve critiqued as part of my Write for Magazines e-course have broken into Woman’s Day, Writer’s Digest, Cottage Living, Black Health, and other top-notch titles.
How much does a query critique cost? It’s just $49 to have your query thoroughly checked over by a successful freelance writer and query letter expert.
For more information on how to sign up for a query critique, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to helping you break into your dream markets!