These tips for improving your query letters and feature articles apply to writers working on novels, book proposals, and pitches to literary agents, too! You need to make your writing as memorable as possible…because the more memorable you are, the more likely you’ll succeed as a writer.
Here’s what one successful novelist says about memorable writing:
“Tell the readers a story!” says Anne McCaffrey, author of How to Write Irresistible Query Letters. “Because without a story, you are merely using words to prove you can string them together in logical sentences.”
Bring your writing and characters to life by telling stories — even if you’re pitching a feature article to an editor or your first novel to a literary agent. Memorable writers inspire emotions and create whole new worlds from sentences! To learn more about improving your query letters (which is the first step to success, read The Masterharper of Pern. And, here are five ways to make your queries and articles better…
Improve Your Query Letters and Feature Articles – 5 Tips for Writers
1. Picture your reader. Write directly to a specific reader, editor, or literary agent — picture him or her in your mind as you write. Whether you’re writing a feature article, book proposal, or first novel, your writing will be more memorable if you can tap into the reader’s psyche. How do you get to know your readers? Study the magazine’s demographics, the literary agent’s blog, the publisher’s current booklist.
2. Relate to your reader’s experience. “[A message] has to make the reader nod in acknowledgement or laugh in recognition,” writes HuffPost blogger Bob Creamer in The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging. “It needs to connect with the reader’s everyday experience.” He explains that memorable writing makes you feel, taste, smell, or hear the content…it’s the old “show, don’t tell” adage at work (it’s a cliché because it’s TRUE!).
3. Inspire an emotional reaction. To make your feature articles or characters more memorable, you need to inspire laughter, sadness, anger, disgust, fear, curiosity…anything, really! If your readers react emotionally, they’re more likely to remember you…and if your readers are editors or literary agents, they may be more likely to hire or woo you. This tip for writers is oft overlooked.
4. Let your personality shine through — free your writer’s voice. After a year of fulltime freelance writing, I’m finally letting my personality and writer’s voice bubble to the surface! One Reader’s Digest editor kept telling me to “have fun with it” when she assigned articles. I couldn’t forget her advice, even though I was too green to actually take it. Now, I’m letting my voice and style shine through in my articles, pitches, and blogs – and my writing is more memorable (and hopefully one day unforgettable! A lofty goal…).
5. Eliminate confusing thoughts or sentences. “If we don’t understand a subject or the relevance of what is being described in a subject, we begin to tune it out,” writes Creamer in The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging. If you don’t “get it” as a writer, you won’t be able to explain or describe it to your readers. And if they don’t understand — or if they’re confused — then your writing is not only forgettable it’s unreadable.
How do you make your feature articles, query letters, and writing in general more memorable? I welcome your comments below…