Unless you have an ingenuous way of getting past security checks and all the many mail stops before you get to an editor’s desk, then submitting a query letter could be quite a paper chase! Just imagine how your manuscript could go unnoticed – and unread – along with the rest of the paperwork that piles up in a busy magazine office each day.
If this isn’t the scenario you have in mind for your writer’s manuscript, then you need to devise a better way. Even though most publications have closed their doors and discouraged the submission of unsolicited work, you still have another option. That option is to break into the market by writing an email query letter to an editor.
What is an Email Query Letter?
Email queries are the latest avenue for sending unsolicited submissions to a magazine office. As long as their writer’s guidelines allow it, most editors are willing to receive your email query letter into their inbox.
Widely accepted as a form of web/internet marketing, email queries are an effective tool. Quick to compose and easy to send, they increase your
chances of reaching an editor’s inbox in no time at all.
How an Email Query Works
Regardless of location or time zone, the email route is the fastest pathway to communicate with a magazine locally or internationally. Almost nothing stands in your way but your own speed and creativity!
Nonetheless, speedy as emails are, there’s one other thing which you should clear right away. It’s how well and fast you’d prevent your email query letter from being classified as spam mail and ending up in your editor’s trash and recycle bin.
Avoid these Mistakes in Writing an Email Query Letter
To do an email query right the first time around, here are top 10 tips to avoid. They’re counter-productive to your goal of quickly getting accepted and published.
Tip #1: Never presume! Always check if they accept email queries.
Modern and automated as most publications are, you might presume that all editors accept submissions online. Naturally, you can find exceptions to this rule, and some magazines still request you to communicate
with via snail mail.
Tip #2: Don’t be too quick to dismiss snail mail. Write if you have to!
It doesn’t say any less of magazines or editors if they prefer to receive query letters the traditional way. No two ways about it, you simply have to work your way into this market if that’s their preference.
Tip #3: Don’t forget to maximize on your web resources. Check online.
If you’re allowed to communicate online, you might as well check on current magazine listings. Check listings such as
Market List and Writer’s Digest. As reliable sources, they publish the latest writer’s guidelines and job posts. You can also use our Writer’s Guidelines Database at https://www.freelancewriting.com/guidelines/pages/index.php
Tip #4: Avoid limiting yourself to online tools. Go the extra mile!
Just in case you can’t find the information for which you are looking, don’t stop there. Be patient and resourceful. Sometimes, it may involve the extra effort of picking up the phone and making an actual call.
Tip #5:Remember to inquire about an editor’s specific email address.
If the publication offers more than a generic email address, then find out their editor’s specific email address. For example, instead of sending your email query letter to www.familycircle.com, you might as well forward it directly to [email protected].
Tip #6: Avoid sending attachments, except when necessary.
Although you’d like to be thorough with your submission, it isn’t advisable to attach documents, including .doc or .pdf files of your samples.
Depending on your recipient’s security settings, certain files could be detected as spam and discarded as a virus.
Thus, instead of attaching samples, direct the editor to links leading to your blog, a client’s website, or an online portfolio.
Tip #7: Don’t take your subject line for granted.
Here’s where your subject line comes handy as a key! After all, who could resist an email proposal, entitled: “Query – 10 Tips on How to Live Happily at $20,000 a Year”
Tip #8: Avoid a weak opening statement.
What a waste of a great subject line if your first paragraph didn’t sell as strongly! So, right from the first sentence of your opening paragraph, present your article idea in a unique and creative way. Start with some smart stats or a witty question!
Tip #9: Don’t ramble on about yourself.
Like any other query letter, one in email form should be just as brief, concise, and straightforward. Say what you’d like to write about, how it would work for their publication, and why your article would interest the
magazine’s readers. Add what qualifies you to write the article and why you are the best person to write it.
Tip #10: Avoid any useless shortcuts.
Short as an email is, you must include useful and complete details. If you’d like the editor to call you back, then you should leave more than your email address. Include other contact info. such as your home phone and mobile number.