Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Help!!! Queries!!!

And what on earth is a query anyways?

Well, you know what a query is - a question, inquiry.
Exactly, so in the world of writers and editors, writers are the ones who query editors regarding their work and they tend to mean one of the following three things:

Article query - It is usually the practice of most magazines not to accept unsolicited articles. They prefer you query them first. Meaning - write the editor about your article, or article idea, and pitch it for them. Yes, indeed, I said pitch and I mean it. Like a sales pitch.
That doesn't mean you can just email the editor, her name is on the contact list after all, and tell her about your brilliant article. Editors prefer that you follow their rules for querying, and you should find out first what the editor's rules are. Those rules are called 'writers guidelines.'
Usually the query includes a summary of the article, resources and sources used, word length, a short description of the writer including relevant experience pertaining to the subject and any writing credits. Many editors also ask for clips or sample writing.

Book query - Some book publishers will accept queries from new authors and some will only deal through an agent. Book queries to agents and to publishers are only slightly different. Again, each publisher and agent has their own guidelines for queries and one should follow them to the letter, heck, to the comma. But usually book queries include a synopsis, first three chapters, book length and some information about the writer such as relevant experience and/or publishing credits.

Response query - This query is a touchy subject to both writer and editor. While it is a mere question - have you looked at my manuscript and do you have an answer for me - it can put the editor in a nasty mood. Again, follow the editor's guideline closely. Do not query before the time mentioned in the guidelines, and when you do, always be gracious, yet professional, about it.

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