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Query Letter: The Freelance Writing Business – Online (UofT School of Continuing Studies)

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2020-05-06

welcome to the online version of the freelance read in business course my name is Paul Lima I’m your instructor this is the second supplementary course video and in this course video I’d like to take a moment and just talk to you a little bit more about the query letter or as I’ve mentioned the query letter or query email you send your queries when you try to sell article ideas to editors of newspapers and magazines you send them primarily by email these days there’s a lot of information about the query letter and a number of sample queries in your course lecture notes and the course textbook everything you wanted to know about freelance writing which you should have by now but I’d like to reinforce a few points here the query letter is a freelance writers most important tool especially if you want to target newspapers and magazines it’s your calling card it’s how you introduce yourself to editors and it’s how you present your ideas and it’s how you present your ability to write as well so the editor is when they’re looking at your query letters say this is a freelance writer with an idea that’s targeted at our publication and oh look this writer can write make it all of that information from your query letter it’s basically what you use to pitch your article ideas so your query letter has to be picture-perfect a lot of writers strike the query letters with hi how are you I’m a freelance writer I’d like to write for you and the fact is that’s kind of boring and that’s not how you want to start your query letter in in fiction right there in fiction writing is a statement that goes something like this show don’t tell and that applies to query letters as well in other words in fiction if you have a character who’s angry you don’t tell the reader this character is angry you show the character being angry by his actions by his words and things like that and in freelance writing you have to show not tell as well so in other words you don’t tell the editor boy am I got a great idea for your publication you show the editor that you have a great idea what you want to do is right off the top instead of saying I’m a freelance writer with an idea for your publication is you start your query letter as if it were an article that was going to appear in the newspaper and magazine you start your query letter with an intention attention-grabbing lead just like you were starting the article so the editor reads this and you’ve captured his or her attention and the editor as it enters reading your lead of your query letter is starting to think about his or her readers and if they would be interested in this as well in other words the editor is kind of like the gatekeeper and you have to sell your idea to the editor in order to be able to sell the article to the editor in order to be able to reach the readers of the publication if your lead gets the editor thinking that publications readers would be interested in your article idea then the editor is more likely to buy it from you so if you don’t capture the editors attention it’s hard to hold the editors interest it becomes hard to sell the idea so literally as you will see from the examples in the textbook in the lecture notes you start your query letter as if you’re writing the article that doesn’t mean you go out and do all your research and have all that information but you start your query letter with an attention-grabbing lead and if you do that you’re more likely to sell your idea to the editor then once you’ve captured the editors attention with your great lead then you can start to tell the editor a little bit for this article i will interview the following people or the types of people that you’ll interview the kind of article you think it should be if it’s a profile if it’s a news article if it’s a feature you get to tell the editor a little bit about that and then you get to tell the editor a little bit about yourself so it’s kind of going the counter intuitively most people think they should say hi how are you i’m a freelance writer i can sell i can write articles for you would you like to buy an article from me what I’m suggesting you do is you literally start your query letter with a lead just like you would start your article to capture the editors attention once you’ve captured the editors attention then you tell the editor a little bit more about the article a little bit more about yourself and you close with some sample clips or a link to your website and all of that is discussed in great detail in the course in a lecture notes and in the course textbook so for your query letter assignment take a good look at the samples come up with a great idea come up with the kind of publication you think would be interested in it and then spend some time to nail that lead to your query letter and then tell the editor a little bit more about your article a little bit about yourself and you close and you do all of that in one page so I hope this has been helpful I’ll see you online take care you

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