Monday, May 25, 2015


  • A few more points to keep in mind - Query letters
  • If you haven’t written for this publication before, you might want to include a resume on a separate sheet, some tear sheets of previously published articles in this field, or the first four pages of this manuscript, so they have a sample of your writing.
  • Realize that a go-ahead from an editor on a query does not mean he is buying it—only that he has agreed to look at it. Your letter should indicate that you are offering it “On speculation, of course.”
  • Some top markets will give a firm assignment, especially if you have written for them before or are well-known in the field. If it is definitely an assignment, and they subsequently decide not to use it, some will pay what we call a “kill fee,” which means they will pay you a fee NOT to publish it (to “kill” the piece). That fee is usually 10-50% of the regular payment. The market guide indicates which publishers pay a kill fee and what percentage.
  • When you submit an article as the result of a go-ahead from an editor on a query, mention that fact in the cover letter that goes with your completed article. Say something like, “Here is the article you asked to see in your letter of May 3rd.” You could also include a Xerox copy of the editor’s go-ahead letter, and write “Requested Manuscript” on the outside of the envelope.
  • Include a self-addressed stamped envelope with every query.
  • You will usually send a query to one publication at a time, unless it is a timely topic or seasonal. If you are submitting it simultaneously for those reasons, include that information in your query, “Because of the timeliness of this topic I am sending simultaneous queries, but will submit the finished article to only one publication at a time.” You may send simultaneous queries to any publications that indicate in the market guide that they will accept simultaneous submissions.
  • If a publisher accepts queries only, it usually means you must send a query even for poetry, fillers, and fiction. Some publishers require a query only for feature or major articles, and a complete manuscript for everything else. Their guidelines will usually clarify exactly what they want.

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