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

I'm Tired Of Pitching


By W. Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Can you identify with my title for this article? Whether you are just starting in publishing or have been doing it for years, you may be tired of pitching. Yet pitching is a reality into the fiber of every aspect of publishing. If I’m honest, some days I don’t want to pitch but after a long time in this business I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t pitch then nothing happens.

For example, I’ve been teaching at a large writers’ conference almost every year for decades. Last year I participated in the event as an editor, but I did not teach a workshop or single session. As I thought about it, I understood why I wasn’t a part of the teaching instructors.  I did not pitch any workshops (new or old) to the conference director. Other people did pitch possible workshops and their sessions filled the schedule.

Every aspect of publishing involves pitching. To get an agent, you have to make a connection with them at a conference or pitch a book or book proposal that captures their attention. It’s the same for a publishing house. You can’t get a book deal without some sort of pitch that shows why you are the unique person to write and publish this particular book.

Pitching is not just for agents and editors; it is a critical part of the process for magazine work as well. You will have to learn to write a query letter, or a one-page pitch targeted to that publication and get the editor’s attention and request for you to submit your article.

When it comes to marketing and selling your book, it also involves—yes pitching. Radio station producers, podcasts hosts, bloggers for guest blogging articles and even writing for local or national newspapers—each aspect involves learning the specialized steps to catch their attention and get on their show or podcast or publication.

And when it comes to reaching readers, you have to pitch something to them that they want so they will join your email list (and then stay on your email list and not unsubscribe). To get the gig, every author has to learn to pitch.

There are a few exceptions to my statements about pitching. You can hire a publicist (after you get their attention (pitch). Then this publicist will do the pitching and scheduling of interviews for you. Or maybe you are invited to become a regular columnist for a publication. Even these regular gigs can come to a sudden end. For one well-known publication in one issue, they announced I was their book review columnist—then the editors abandoned the column with their next issue. Change is one of the consistent elements of publishing. One day you are up and the next day you are down—but you still have to continue pitching.

I may be tired of pitching but if I want to continue to be an active part of the publishing community, I’m going to continue to pitch. It’s like a teacher tired of teaching. Each of us need to understand it’s part of the fiber of this business and work every day to perfect our pitch and open more doors of opportunity. Every writer has a wide-open door of opportunity, but you have to take action and knock on the right door—which will take some effort and work but is definitely possible.

What steps do you take if you are tired of pitching? Let me know in the comments below.


This prolific writer and editor is tired of pitching. He explains how pitching is in the fiber of every aspect of publishing so he will continue to pitch. Learn the details here. (ClickToTweet) 

W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Colorado. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham. Get Terry’s recent book, 10 Publishing Myths for only $10, free shipping and bonuses worth over $200. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at: Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Write for Magazine Publication #4

Writing for Magazine Publication is a great way to monetize your writing and test your topic for readership interest. This series offers tips and ideas for magazine publishing: a list of genres or categories and where we find ideas (posted 5.25.18), research tips (posted 6.25.18), standard templates for essay and article pieces (7.25.18), query letters (#1 8.25.18), formatting for submission, and copyright definitions.

An essay is all about the writer, but an article is all about the reader. An essay is an opinion piece: an analytical or interpretative composition with a limited point of view. However, an article is non-fiction prose that is based upon presenting information to the reader.

Today, let’s talk about the How-To Article and a query submission. 

Several years ago, I approached an Art Magazine Publisher with an emailed “cold call” query after studying their submittal requirements and locating the correct editor. I included several photos of the subject artwork along with my query letter.  A copy of the email correspondence follows.

Note: First, How-To Articles are a specialty and include more graphics than other types of articles. From the approach below, you will note the lack of formality. This first “sale”, that also made the cover, has been followed by four additional articles. I am confident you also have some How-To Articles just waiting to be written and submitted. Go for it!

Submission Sample
Initial Query for Submission Review - Value Study Portraits Article
Subject: Initial Query for Submission Review
Art Quilting Studio Submissions:

Thank you very much for the opportunity to submit my work and technique to Stampington’s Art Quilting Studio for consideration.  I am attracted to the Series Showcase feature of the magazine.

I am a portrait artist working in watercolor and textiles.  I paint with ink on fabrics such as silk and cottons.

My value study portrait series has been of great benefit to me as I work through values of black, white and gray.  Value study is one of the hallmarks of an artist’s journey through design development.  I have received good feedback and enthusiastic response as I have shown this series to the art groups I belong to.  I am sure your readers will be encouraged to experiment as well!

I have found that many quilt artists sense the benefit of working in a series, but are at a loss when it comes identifying where to start.  My value study article will inspire your readers to apply my simple method to create their own art piece or open the door to create their own series.

Each piece is a workable size of approximately 11” wide by 12-14” high.  I have attached jpeg photo files for your reference.

I suggest presenting my method per the following steps accompanied by high quality photographs:
·         Fabric selection
·         Drawing or picture selection
·         Pattern development
·         Initial steps to begin the piece
·         (2) Steps showing progression and painting
·         Final step of machine quilting the piece
·         Completed project photo
Thank you for your consideration.  I would love to hear from you soon.
Best regards,
Deborah Stanley, Artist

Subject: RE: Initial Query for Submission Review
Hi Deborah,
Thank you for contacting me and sharing your art quilts. Wow! These are stunning!

If your artwork is selected, it will be sorted into an article that will both explain and showcase your art, giving you full credit for it; I can also put it into consideration for the Series Showcase. You will be compensated (if chosen for an article) and be given a free copy of any issue your artwork appears in.

Each article usually focuses around a common theme regarding the look, design, or technique of the pieces. I feel your combination of watercolors and textiles into portraits would make for a fabulous feature. Here is our website that explains our submission guidelines:

The deadline for this round is Tuesday, January 31, 2012. Do you think you can send in your pieces by then? We prefer submissions of original art, as it aids us in selection, and gives you a better chance of being selected. However since we’re cutting it close to the deadline, I will accept hi-res digital images (300 dpi at 8½" x 10"). You can just email these to me. If your art is selected from the photos, we will probably eventually need your pieces in our offices to keep photography consistent throughout the magazine. You can also provide step-by-step photos like you mentioned.

What do you think?

Subject: RE: Initial Query for Submission Review
Cynthia, I’m delighted. 
Thank you very much for your quick and favorable response.  Yes, I can make the deadline of January 31.
I live locally, so I can easily hand deliver the art pieces.  I do have the equipment to provide the hi-res photos with 300 dpi as required.

I would like to double check with you on a few items as I prepare for the deadline. 
My submission package for January 31st will include:
•    Actual art work pieces
•    Photos of the Step-by-Step Process presented digitally (and hard copy if desired)
•    Photos of my watercolor paintings used as the reference for the quilt art pieces, presented as digital copies (I can meet with the photographer to photo the watercolor pieces but I won’t be able to leave them as they are due at shows)
•    Text introducing the project and walking through the steps (I use Word) as digital and hard copies
•    I understand from the submission guidelines that if selected, editorial assistance will be available
Thank you again!  Please let me know if I am on track or if I have missed something.
Website address:
Phone number:

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her web-blog: Deborah Lyn Stanley : MyWriter's Life .

Write clear & concise, personable yet professional. 
Know your reader. Use quotes & antidotes.

More ABCs for New Writers; P - T

P is for polishing.

Proofreading would work here, but that goes without saying. Polishing is just what it implies - you are making your piece shine.

Take a step away from your writing for a couple of hours or more. When you go back to it you will see it from a different angle and polish the smudges. You will rearrange a sentence that didn't feel right. A fresh ending will pop into your head. Do this a few times before submitting your article or manuscript. 

Q is for query letter.

New writers will learn new words in the writing business. Query letter is one of them.

A query letter is written to an editor or agent to consider your idea for a book or magazine article you have written (or are writing). It is a sales pitch and should be written well. 

First and foremost, personalizing your query letter goes a long way. It's not about you. It's about them. Show you care by serving the needs of who you are writing for.  

Your query letter will provide a short summary of what your book or article is about. It should hook the editor or agent so they will want more. The summary of your book will ultimately make or break your chances of landing the agent.

R is for rejection.

It is discouraging to get a rejection letter when you have invested so much time on a piece.

Rejection is common to all writers.

I get discouraged easily but I have grown through handling the defeat from rejection letters. You either work through it or you give up.

Never give up!

Do you know the number of famous authors who were rejected? When I learned the author of The Help was rejected 60 times over the course of 3 1/2 years before her book became a best seller, I realized maybe it will be the next time for me.

S is for success.

You will be successful if you don't give up and commit to follow through with your writing goals. If you get off track (and we all do), just get back on.

It is so rewarding to receive a phone call or acceptance letter for your submission. The paycheck that follows is even more rewarding.

Keep going at whatever you love to write. Learn all you can. You will be successful but it will take time.

T is for target audience.

Once you have narrowed down what you like to write and what you are good at writing, it is time to figure out target audience is.

I really like this simple description of what a target audience is:
"One of the biggest mistakes ... is trying to appeal to everyone. Think about the game of darts: You have to aim in order to hit the board. (If you let your darts go without aiming them, you probably won’t be very popular.) If you hit the board, you score. And if your aim is very good and you hit the bull’s eye, even better!"
Some questions to ask yourself: 
  • Who will be interested in what you write?
  • Who will benefit?
  • What age group will be reading your writing?
  • What problem do you have the solution for?
There is plenty of online resources to help you further research and identify your target audience. 

Next month More ABCs for New Writers U - Z.

Image courtesy of Vlado at


After raising and homeschooling her 8 children and teaching art classes for 10 years, Kathy has found time to pursue freelance writing. She enjoys writing magazine articles and more recently had her story, "One of a Kind", published in The Kids' ArkYou can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts

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