Top Seven Query Mistakes Writers Make
edited: Thursday, August 25, 2005
By Earma Brown
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Thursday, August 25, 2005
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How do I appear more professional and experienced if I have little or no experience? Be creative and mine your background and experiences for a translatable skill is one way. Writers and unseasoned writers especially often share a set of mistakes that may hinder them from joining the winners’ circle of Frequently Published Writers. Here are 7 top mistakes writers make and how to correct them.
Mistake # 1 Failure to Value One’s Expertise
All writers have the experiences of life to draw from. Yet many don’t count them as worthy to help build credentials. Instead of writing an editor saying, “I have no writing experience.” Examine your life and vocation experiences to find translatable skills. For example you are pitching a business marketing piece and you have written a classified ad to sell your brother-in-law’s service for years and he gets calls on it. You could phrase that into successful classified ad writing experience. Or if you have an idea of training tips for toddlers mention you are the mother of three and two were toddlers at the same time.
Mistake #2 Failure to Develop Ideas Fully
No editor will be inspired to publish your piece if you send them a list of undeveloped ideas. Your sales document (query letter) must convince the editor you have thought your project through and even done initial research to support your ideas. You may not get another opportunity to impress so pitch with the most excellent, well planned and compelling piece you have.
Mistake #3 Failure to Think Creatively
There nothing new under the sun. Bernice Fitz-Gibbon commented, “Creativity often consists of merely turning up what is already there. Did you know that right and left shoes were thought up only little more than a century ago?” Editors love writers that think creatively. Bring fresh stories of real people to support your ideas. Weave the latest statistics into your leads to spark interest.
Mistake #4 Failure to Read Publication
Unseasoned writers often don’t take the time to include this simple step. They don’t familiarize themselves with the style and tone of the publication. They don’t look at the latest issues and see how their piece might fit or match the editor’s needs. Editors enjoy receiving well matched projects that show the author has taken the time to find out what their readers need. You gain more assignments if you simply do your best to match your piece to the editors needs.
Mistake #5 Failure to Follow Professional Query Etiquette
Don’t miss an opportunity to project excellence by taking the lazy route. Some unseasoned writers are guilty of addressing all query letters to the managing editor. Stand out from the crowd by simply checking the masthead or writer’s guidelines for correct editor’s name or salutation. If you don’t see it in the masthead or writer’s guidelines even a simple email to an assistant editor may move you one step closer to gaining the writing credits you deserve.
Mistake #6 Failure to Accept Free Assignments
Don’t despise the small beginning of a non-paid assignment. All frequently published writers started somewhere below where they are now. A good way to jump start your writing credits list is to accept non-paid assignments. Most magazines that can’t afford payment are eager to compensate with by-lines and bio which means more exposure for you and one more credit in your list. Go for it and get paid with a credit.
Mistake #7 Failure to Respect Editor
Constant pestering of an editor after querying is unprofessional. Most editors won’t blacklist you for one email question apart from the query. But annoying editors with a stream of emails and calls shows a lack of respect for their time. Be respectful, gain goodwill and get more assignments.
Editors are people too. Most people choose people to work with that are courteous and respectful of their time and work. Put your best foot forward by submitting professional, targeted, well written copy and anticipating more assignments. Editors will reward you with more opportunities to see your work published and add to your writing credits.
© Earma Brown, 10 year author and business owner
helps small business owners and writers who want to deliver their message effectively, build client lists and create additional streams of income. Author of “Win with the Writer Inside You”, she mentors other writers and business professionals through her monthly ezine “iScribet” at http://www.writetowin.org Subscribe now at iscribe.writetowin.org
P.O. Box 612
Wylie, Texas 75098
Web Site: Write to Win Series
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