"What to Include in a Query - You Need MORE Than a Great Idea! "
by Suzanne Lieurance
If you're not having much luck with the magazine markets, consider this--What do you have to offer magazine editors that they can't get anywhere else? A unique idea for an article is good. But generally, that is not enough to get an editor to want to see your article. You need something else. Something like:
1. Little-known or hard-to-find facts and statistics to include in your proposed article. Dig around until you uncover something about your topic that isn't common knowledge. Even a topic that has been covered dozens of times before can become fresh again if there is new information that will allow you to give it a new spin.
2. Firsthand experience related to the article you are proposing. For example, if you're proposing an article about what to do if you are robbed overseas, and this has happened to you, be sure to let the editor know that. If you don't have firsthand experience yourself, the next best thing is to find someone else who does.
3. At least 3 to 5 experts you can quote in your proposed article. You don't have to know experts personally in order to contact them. However, before you query an editor, make sure you've lined up at least 3 to 5 experts as sources for the information you will include in your article. And don't just tell the editor you plan to interview 3 to 5 sources. Give the editor the names and qualifications of these sources (so be sure to contact your sources ahead of time and ask for an interview).
4. Other good primary source materials for your article. These materials might include diaries, journals, transcripts, and other personal and public documents. Check out the archives at your local library and also at many local museums and historical societies. You'll probably be pleasantly surprised at what you uncover.
Before you send out your next query, make sure you can supply your editor with much more than a great idea. If you do, you'll probably see your luck with the magazine markets start to change.
Suzanne Lieurance is a freelance writer, the author of 22 (at last count) published books, and the Working Writer's Coach.