If you want to be a busy “working” freelance writer, you can’t continually miss the mark with your queries, cover letters, and such. Here are some tips for hitting the target with these materials and landing plenty of well-paying and interesting writing assignments:
1. Look at your query letters.
What sets them apart from the hundreds of other queries an editor will receive this month? A good query should show the editor (of the publication you are targeting) your unique writing style. If the writing in your query isn’t interesting and engaging, the editor probably figures (and rightly so) that your article won’t be that interesting or engaging either. Also, editors receive thousands of queries a year that start off with a question. Be a bit more original than that and you’ll gain the editor’s interest immediately.
2. Give the editor appropriate writing samples.
If you apply for a freelance assignment you’ve seen advertised somewhere, and an editor asks for writing samples or an outline for the project advertised, make sure you really understand what he needs to see. Remember, this editor is just trying to figure out if you can deliver the type of work the project calls for. If you don’t already have a writing sample in your files (for the type of work this editor is asking for), take the time to craft a sample that will show this editor you can write about a particular subject in the style, tone, etc. that he is looking for. If the editor has requested a custom sample, and has given you guidelines for this, then study those guidelines carefully and follow them to the letter. If you don’t fully understand the guidelines, then ask the editor for clarification.
3. Make sure your cover letters aren’t including too much information, or not
A cover letter is simply a courtesy, a way of introducing yourself. If you’ve included a manuscript, resume, or writing clips, state that in your cover letter. Also, mention why you are writing – in response to his ad for freelance writers, etc. – but don’t go on and on about your writing background, the fact that your kids all love your funny stories, etc. Be cordial in your cover letter, but remember, this is a business letter, after all, so don’t get too chatty.
4. Don’t use a standard resume when submitting to publishers.
Develop a “writer’s resume” that includes just your publishing credits, education, and writing related activities. Editors don’t care that you worked as a nanny for three summers, or you were a camp director to put yourself through college, unless those activities related to writing.
Follow these tips and soon you’ll be right on target to land more and more of those freelance assignments you’re aiming for.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Suzanne Lieurance is a freelance writer, children’s author, and “the working writer’s coach.” Visit her website at http://www.suzannelieurance.com to find out how to get her
two free e-books for writers, or check out her blog at http://www.the-working-writers-coach.blogspot.com for more coaching tips and learn how to get your free copy of THE WORKING WRITERS MARKETING PLAN.