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Sending queries and how best to go about it

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Okay, after months and months of procrastination and starting and then stopping, I am finally giving myself the kick up the rear I need and taking this magazine query-writing/sending seriously. I narrowed down my market (I think that was a big problem before, not knowing where to start) and came up with a list of 17 story ideas, seven of which I think are fairly strong. Some are features, some are shorter pieces, some related to health, others humorous. They're all targeted at the same audience and there are about 7 or 8 national magazines in this market. I have purchased a copy of each to get an idea of which sections my ideas would fit into and am doing my background research on each mag.

My biggest question is do I write one great query and then send it out to each of these magazines simultaneously, or do I write all of my queries first, on each separate idea, and send different ideas to different magazines at the same time? What's the best method for success and for keeping track? What have others done?

Also, what is the 'rule' on how long you should wait without hearing anything before you enquire about your query, and is it bad form to send another before you've heard back about your first, or if you've just been rejected?

Thanks for any insights you can give me!
post #2 of 5
Wow- you've done such a great job getting organized. If you have that many queries I would send out each query as you do it to the best bet magazine. Then after about two weeks I would send a follow-up asking if they recieved the query. Usually this is the point you get a yes or no. If you hear no - follow up with a 'thanks for the response' and another one of your queries. Repeat this until each of you queries has either been assigned or cycled through each magazine, then move them down to regionals.
When I'm actively looking for work I typically have about 10-15 queries out circulating. Occasionally I'll send the same query out to several markets (I always do this with a time sensitive topic), but I tend to get confused with what I've done when I do this. It works better for me to send each query to a different magazine and keep queries in front of my target mags all the time. Whenever one is rejected or has had no response to 2 follow-ups - I send it to the next best candidate.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thank you ceilydhmama, that's a great idea. So basically when I write a query I should make an ordered list of which magazines it would best suit and just keep going down the list if I get rejected or don't hear back. I can do the same thing for each query, keeping them in constant circulation amongst this group of magazines until I get an assignment. Sounds like a good plan! I think I'll make a spreadsheet so that I can keep track, otherwise it will get all muddled up, I'm sure.

How long do you generally wait before you follow up a query and if you don't hear back from that do you just assume it's a rejection and move on to your next best option?
post #4 of 5
[ I think I'll make a spreadsheet so that I can keep track, otherwise it will get all muddled up, I'm sure.

I often do this - otherwise I've been known to send the same query to the same mag


How long do you generally wait before you follow up a query and if you don't hear back from that do you just assume it's a rejection and move on to your next best option?

Typically, I follow-up at two weeks. This is just a brief note double checking they got the query and that it's made it to the correct editor. Then I tack the query on to the bottom. A week or so after that I send another note (query attached) letting them know if the query isn't a match I'll be withdrawing it. I wait a day or two then send that mag a new query (repeat entire process) and send the original query to a new mag. If I don't hear anything after two queries I assume I'm contacting the wrong editor and try to find a better editor to send things to. The best way to do this is call the magazine and ask which editor edits the section you are pitching.

hth
Diane
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks Diane, you're a huge help!

I'm feeling really confident and ready to kick some butt and start getting paid!
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