Showing posts with label query. Show all posts
Showing posts with label query. Show all posts

Published Writers Must Be Pitching

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

The magazine business changes constantly—as other elements within publishing. Editors change. The focus of a publication changes. The types of articles that they take changes. Themes for a magazine develop over a period of time and even what an editor takes and rejects changes.  If the editors don’t know what they want to achieve or do with the magazine (occasionally true), imagine how it confuses the people who are trying to write for them. At times it feels like a pure shot in the dark—but you have to continue taking the shot if you want to be published.
There are several realities to mention here. Nothing gets published if it’s only in your head or in your computer or in a file folder. It’s only when you send it into the marketplace that you have an opportunity for something to transpire.
Many years ago I was writing query letters about a little article on Listening Through the Bible. I targeted the idea for January issues of the magazine (perfect because people make resolutions and are looking for a new idea, etc.).  I learned if you listen to the Bible 20 minutes a day, you can make it through the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation in four months. It’s an amazing—and true fact. The tape recording of the Bible simply keeps on going where you would get stalled—like in 2 Chronicles in the genealogy section.
My query letter on Listening Through the Bible was soundly rejected—all over the place. I crafted the query letter, targeted it to appropriate publications and received rejection after rejection. I didn’t think I was going to be able to write this particular article on assignment (which comes from writing the one-page query letter).
One day I received a phone call from a magazine editor. She was brand new at that magazine and had taken the helm of this publication (editor-in-chief type of role). Her initial words were apologetic about going through old query letters. (In fact, the publication had already rejected my idea and returned my SASE with the form rejection). This editor loved my Listening Through the Bible idea.  Then she asked, “Can you write 500 words on this topic by _____ a specific date a few weeks away?” Instantly I agreed. The article was published and reprinted numerous times. (In fact, I need to pull out that reprint and get it back into the market. As a former magazine editor, I know the editors are looking for content for their January 2021 issues).
Hope springs eternal for writers — who are in the marketplace of ideas. Jump in the water with excellent writing. The water is fine.
Are you pitching editors at magazines? What are some of your stumbling blocks as a writer? Let me know in the comments and I look forward to helping you.

It's a simple truth: Published Writers Must Be Pitching. Get the details from this prolific writer and editor. (ClickToTweet)

W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  He has written for over 50 magazines and more than 60 books with traditional publishers. His latest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed. Get this book for only $10 + free shipping and over $200 in bonuses. One of Terry's most popular free ebooks is Straight Talk From the Editor, 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof Submission. He lives in Colorado and has over 200,000 twitter followers

How to Use the Power of Asking

By W. Terry Whalin

Mega-promoter P.T. Barnum said, “Without promotion, something terrible happens. Nothing.” This statement is true for promotion and marketing but it is also true for almost every aspect of the publishing business. 

If you are not tapping into the power of asking, you are not having opportunities for your writing to be published and sold.

For example, if you want more reviews on Amazon for your books, are you consistently asking people if they are willing to read your book and write a review? 

It's been proven that a steady stream of reviews on Amazon (even if your book has been out a while) helps your book to sell even more copies. I understand it is important to get over 20 Amazon reviews (if possible) and 50 reviews is another benchmark. And when it comes to these reviews, I've often found willing people—but they haven't posted their review. 

Part of the process is to return to these individuals and make sure they have the book and remind them about the review. I get the challenges in this situation. There is a lot to read and write about since new books are being released into the market every day.

If you want to do more publishing in the world of print magazines, are you creating article ideas and pitching them to editors? I'm not talking about doing it once but over and over on a regular basis. 

You need to learn how to write a query letter then write your ideas and send them out to editors. I'd love for more editors to approach me with their ideas—but that is not my reality—even though I've written for over 50 magazines. Instead I have to ask editors to write for their publication.

If you want to get a literary agent, are you crafting your proposals then consistently pitching agents? Every agent receives numerous pitches every day and you have to be part of those pitches. 

As another strategy, are you going to conferences to meet agents and editors face to face and make your pitches? As editors (and a former literary agent), we work with people that we know, like and trust. Nothing happens if you sit back and do not actively pitch editors and agent.

Are you writing a book and need someone with a high profile to write the foreword for the book? Or does your book need some endorsements

Readers buy books every day because of endorsements and the foreword for the book—even if behind the scenes you had to write these endorsements. You will have to ask others for these endorsements, then probably give them a deadline, follow-up and even offer to write them a “draft” endorsement for it to happen. See how you have to be actively involved in this process and be asking for something to transpire?

While we depend on email, know that email can often not deliver—so make sure your pitch is reaching the right person and they are able to read it—even with a quick follow-up call or follow-up email to see if they got it.

If you don't have enough writing work or your books aren't selling, then I encourage you to become more active in asking others to buy your book or publish your work. Every writer (including me) would love to not have to ask others and have editors and agents clamor for their writing and work. In an extreme few cases, these writers exist—but for the bulk of us, we have to continue to pitch our work, promote our writing and get in front of new audiences.

How are you using the power of asking in your writing work? Let me know in the comments below.


Are you using the power of asking? Get ideas here from a prolific writer and editor.  (ClickToTweet)


World of Print Magazines

Writing a Query Letter

Why Writers' Conferences are Important

Free list of Literary Agents

Crafting Your Proposal

Connect with Terry Whalin on Twitter:

W. Terry Whalin has been an acquisitions editor at three publishers and is a former literary agent. For the last five and half years, Terry has been acquiring books for Morgan James Publishing, a New York publisher doing about 150 books a year. His contact information is on the bottom of the second page. Terry has written for more than 50 print magazine and published more than 60 books including his classic Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success. He has over 220,000 followers on Twitter and lives in Colorado.
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Growing a Writing Career

Beginning a writing career is like planting a garden. It takes time and patience. Depending on the crop, the harvest can be from a few weeks to months away.

When planting a garden, you first have to pick out a spot with the right conditions for optimum growth.
  • Do you have a spot for writing? A desk, calendar, file cabinet, computer, and anything else you need to grow as a writer? Having a place that feels professional really makes a difference. You can write anywhere, but in order to get yourself thinking in terms of making money, a corner in the house with all the proper tools will give you a place for your writing business.
Next, preparation - working up the soil and amending if necessary. 
  • What do you want to write? You may have many ideas. Choose one you know the most about. If you are a mother, you may have great ideas to submit to a parenting magazine. If you have fond childhood memories spending summers in Maine with your grandfather and his lobster business, you may want to write a children's book. Dig deeply and think about what's in your heart. It won't limit your ideas, but it will give you a place to start.
Time to plant! The seeds or plants have to be selected.
  • Do you have goals? You have to know what you want to plant in your garden. Once you choose what you want to write, make a goal by the end of this year so you will have a harvest. If you want to write for magazines, perhaps your goal is to have 3 articles written and submitted. If you want to write a children's book, perhaps your goal is to have a rough draft completed. 
Watering, weeding, and fertilizing.
  • Do you have a writing schedule in place? A garden will flourish with proper care. If you don't select the days and times you will write, chances are your writing will be sporadic (watering) and your business won't grow. If it doesn't get done, you won't make money. There is a tendency to over schedule. You will know if you do. Just eliminate (weed) the days or  hours out of your schedule that are stifling your success. It's better to schedule 3 hours a week and stick with it than to schedule 6 hours and miss the mark.  
Your schedule will include weekly objectives (fertilize) to meet your goal:
  1.  Network with other writers and authors. Here you will find support, suggestions, and  guidance to help you know what books to read or classes to take for your style or genre.
  2.  Research your topic. If you're writing historical fiction, you have to be accurate about the  history. If you're writing an article for a magazine, you have to become familiar with the magazine and  writer's guidelines.
  3.  Build your platform. This is included with networking with other writers, but it also includes  having a blog or website. Who you are and what you write about will be reflected in your site.
  4.  Write. This is the actual writing you will do on your project. Are you a morning person or night  owl? What time or day works for you? 
  5.  Prioritize. You are starting a business. You have to take it seriously and your family and friends  have to take it seriously. Unless it's an emergency, treat your schedule as if you were going to a job  outside your home. Would you be able to leave work to help someone? Make it a priority to decide  when and if you will forgo your work schedule. 
  6.  Submit and Query. I know many beginning writers who have not taken the next step of submitting  or querying their work. What good is a garden if you don't pick the produce? Fear of rejection, lack  of confidence, or low self-esteem are all possible reasons. You have to take some risks to be  successful.  It's like  pruning. When you snip a plant in the right places, the promise is better growth.
  7. Patience. If you've planted a garden, you know it requires patience. The harvest is weeks or months away. I am just picking ripe tomatoes that I planted in May. I have a hydrangea that I've babied along for 3 years and just saw some buds. But then there are the radishes and  green beans that seemed to grow overnight. 
When I became serious about freelance writing, I had so many ideas I didn't know where to begin. I have 2-3 book ideas, but I also knew I wanted to make money as a writer in the very near future. Do I write resumes? Do I write for local publications? Do I take a course and get some credentials under my belt? I had to start organizing my thoughts since I was overwhelmed with information. Then it hit me - writing short pieces was a better fit for me than a book. So the book ideas are currently set aside for now, and I am regularly working on submitting to magazines. The book ideas will eventually be scheduled in. 

Where are you in your writing career? If you're just beginning, you may have lots of ideas to write about. But if you don't plant those ideas and keep to a regular schedule each week, you won't have a successful harvest.

Go for it! You have something to offer the world.


Kathy Moulton is a published freelance writer. You can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts -

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