Some Pen and Prosper followers have never had their works published before, while others are noted authors with successful careers in the industry.
As such, there are different levels, guidance needs, and goals represented here. Though I do my best to address an array of topics and themes, perhaps there is still something that has you scratching your head about the creative process, things that require greater clarity.
Whether you're trying to break through a "blog fog," need tips to manage your time better, or seek to earn more pay for your say, please take this opportunity to pose a question.
In keeping with this blog's mission to help you "know more and grow more" today's question comes from my blogging buddy, Janette.
Can you help?
"I'd be interested in hearing more about your take on query letters. I think I read an older post of yours discussing your take on query letters, but this may have been two or three years ago so I don't recall exactly what it said. ? Not sure if memory serves me on that one. I'll search through your older blog posts now, but look forward to any future blog posts on the subject!"
My take on this topic:
Queries pose a quandary for writers of all levels and genres. Experts contend that in order for writers to get the green light to get their works published, they must perfect the "sacred" query letter. Not so. Not always.
For me, my approach has always been about time management and getting the biggest "bang" for my writing and blogging efforts. In my vast career as a writer, I have had to deal with many challenges, in terms of time and resources. In former years, for example, I maintained a writing career while working full time during the day and going to college at night. Not to mention other personal demands.
Also, adding to the equation was the fact that I was a "late bloomer." I didn't start out on the writing path til' later in life, with several detours.
I had stressful careers that although I was successful in, did not speak to my true passion and my personality. Perhaps you can relate.
So, if I may, let me break this down like a fraction reduced to its simplest terms:
Consider the purpose of a query letter.
The goal here is simply to get an editor's permission to submit your work for consideration. That's it in a nutshell. It's not a magic pill.
If your query is well written, you still could be rejected because of the following:
- The idea has been covered recently, or is in the process of being covered.
- Though your writing is good, the editor doesn't like your take on the subject.
- Your idea is not a good match for the publication.
- Your clips are not impressive enough.
Now let's look at the time factor...
You send it to an editor.
It takes from 2-6 weeks for the editor to evaluate it and get back to you.
The editor approves it, with the okay to send in the completed piece.
You write the piece and send it in.
You wait for the editor to review it and decide whether or not it meets his needs. Sometimes another 2-6 weeks will be added to the process.
She ultimately rejects your work.
You start the process over...Oy vey!
There's a better way.
Consider this: by the time you've done this checklist, I've likely written a piece, been paid, and am looking for reprint markets. Hello? :-)
Because instead of mastering the craft of queries, I've mastered the craft of being strategic.
- I study writers' guidelines with a fine-tooth comb.
- I search through archives like I'm on a scavenger hunt.
- I pay attention to the percentage of freelance submissions that a publication typically purchases to assess my odds for success. (Writers Market is great for this information).
- I produce quality work with unique slants, and an understanding of the publication's target audience and objectives.
- I strive to be easy to work with. "Divas" need not apply.
Note: For the big "glossies" you will need to query first as a matter of protocol.
That's my story, and I'm stickin' with it. :-)
My motto: Don't query, be happy!
Comments? What would you like to have me address on writing and blogging?
"Speak now, or forever hold your peace." :-)