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15 Tips for Getting a Literary Agent From the Query Shark

How do you get a literary agent who will help you get published? As a writer, you need an agent who believes in you and your book. These tips for getting the right literary agent are from Janet Reid, who runs the Query Shark blog. Learn how to write a query letter and sell your book idea, nonfiction proposal, or fiction manuscript.

Example of a Query Letter for Unpublished Writers

This example of a query letter for unpublished writers (writers who don’t have magazine clips yet) will help writers land their first magazine assignment – I hope! I’m posting this because a reader asked for an example of a beginner’s query letter on my Tips for Improving Your Query Letters article.

Before the query letter example, a quip:

“Sleep on your writing; take a walk over it; scrutinize it of a morning; review it of an afternoon; digest it after a meal; let it sleep in your drawer a twelvemonth; never venture a whisper about it to your friend, if he be an author especially,” said A. Bronson Alcott.

Sleeping on your writing is one of the best tips for writing anything. And, talking about your writing – especially to other authors – can be helpful…but the jury is still out on that one.

Back to query letters: one of my favorite resources for freelance writing for unpublished writers is The Writers Digest Guide To Query Letters by Wendy Burt-Thomas. I interviewed her here on Quips & Tips, in Interview With the Author of Query Letters. Click Burt-Thomas’ book cover for info about writing query letters, and read on for my example of a query letter for unpublished writers…Read More »Example of a Query Letter for Unpublished Writers

How Freelance Writers Track Article Pitches and Submissions

How do freelance writers keep track of their article pitches and submissions? I’ve been using an Excel spreadsheet to track my magazine article pitches and submissions for over two years. Here’s how and why it works like a charm…

Before the tips, a quip:

“Work with yourself, not against yourself,” says Julie Hood of TheOrganizedWriter.com. “Understand your personality and what works for you.  Do what feels right and what appeals to you-not what seems to ‘be organized.'”

Fellow scribes, if you want to get organized and track your article pitches, submissions, or writing goals (such as how many words you write per day, how much money you earn per month) – you need to find what works for you. Try new ideas, such as my Excel spreadsheet or someone else’s writing software program – and keep trying until you find what makes you feel like a real writer. The more “real” you feel, the more success you’ll enjoy.

For more info on being an organized writer, read Writer’s First Aid: Getting Organized, Getting Inspired, and Sticking to it! by Kristi Holl.

And here are my tips on tracking your article pitches and submissions…Read More »How Freelance Writers Track Article Pitches and Submissions

How to Improve a Query Letter – Sample Pitch to a Magazine Editor

This sample query letter includes several ways to improve it. It’s a pitch I sent to Child magazine two years ago; the editor didn’t assign the article, and here I explain why. These tips can be directly applied to your own query letters, to help you sell your freelance articles…

Before the tips, here’s a quip from two experienced freelance writers:

“We think writers should stop placing so much emphasis on ‘rejections’,” writes Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell in The Renegade Writer. “They’re not rejections – they’re business decisions. What if your attorney or massage therapist moped around in their bathrobes like writers do whenever they lost a potential client?”

No matter how good your query letter is, it’ll get rejected if the timing isn’t right for the magazine, if the article idea doesn’t resonate with the editor, or if the topic doesn’t fall within the publication’s normal MO. To succeed, fellow scribes, you must accept rejection for what it is: a simple business decision. And then you must move on.

Here are several tips for improving your query letters, based on a pitch I sent to Child magazine. The editors didn’t buy this article – and I’ll show you why. To learn more about pitching query letters, click on The Renegade Writer’s Query Letters That Rock by Formichelli and Burrell.Read More »How to Improve a Query Letter – Sample Pitch to a Magazine Editor