Long weekends like the four-day Thanksgiving holiday that starts tomorrow when nobody’s in the office are great times to work on projects you can’t get around to when you have story deadlines and editors breathing down your neck, projects like crafting queries to new or not so new-to-you publications.
To help get the query juices flowing, I’ve compiled some of the most popular posts I’ve written about queries – what to do, what not to do and where to go for ideas.
But before you get started, think about how much time and effort you put into the queries you do. A beginning freelancer asked a LinkedIn writers’ group I belong to whether it was better to do a lot of research before crafting a query or just a little.
My answer: it depends. For a few regular clients I do little or no research ahead of time because they’ll greenlight a project without it based on my work history. In other cases, I’ll tack a question or two onto the end of an interview I’m doing for an already assigned story to ask “What else are you working on?” or “What else did you learn at that convention?” If they’ve got something good, I’ve got the “research” I need to put a pitch together. If you’ve ever worked as a beat reporter for a newspaper, newsweekly or news Website/blog, this becomes second nature.
Some queries I develop from an original idea and then reach out to one or two potential sources to find out if they’d make themselves available for an interview. Then I can write a query and say “For this story I would interview XXX” and name the source(s) I’ve lined up.
Now go work those queries!