There are two ways to apply to the magazine’s editorial office.
The first is to send the finished article without an invitation. This is called an unsolicited manuscript. Most editors don’t like to read long manuscripts, and many magazines report that they don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts that are sent to the so-called “black stack” and rarely read.
Another more productive way to publish in magazines is to send a question letter in which you present your idea to the editor before writing an article.
A cover letter is a commercial proposal: your goal is to convince the publisher that the idea of your article is interesting to their readers and that you are the best person to write it.
Request letters save time. In the time it would take you to write a full article, you can write several emails with questions that can lead to more than one assignment. Research letters save editors time because they don’t need to read long manuscripts that may not be appropriate for their journals.
Request letters increase your chances of working with the magazine you want to write for. Editors are usually reluctant to rewrite or offer significant changes to the finished work. On the other hand, research letters make it easy for publishers to come up with an idea.
Even if your idea isn’t quite right for a magazine, the editor might like the way you and your idea presented themselves, and he might still be interested in working with you on another assignment.
I hope you’re now convinced that question letters are necessary to infiltrate the writing industry, especially if you’re just starting out. So it’s worth spending the effort and time to write an irresistible letter that will make the editor want to see more of your emails.
The editor will see not only your question letter, so you should do everything possible to make your letter stand out and attract attention. One letter with a question can make or break your success as a writer. The editors remember the names. Make sure they remember yours in a positive way.
If your question letter is professional and attention-grabbing, the editor will write down your name mentally, even if your idea may not be accurate. If your question is accepted and you complete the task with a well-written, well-researched and unmistakable article, you will be remembered even better. And your next question will be considered in a more favorable light. This means that good research is often the beginning of a long-term relationship between you and the publisher.
If you send an unprofessional, poorly written question with ideas that are not appropriate for a magazine, the editor will remember you. But now she remembers you negatively. The next time you ask her a question, she can quickly view it and throw it in the trash. You can forever close the door to this magazine by asking one bad question. Are you sure you want to take a chance?
Nothing is guaranteed in life. Even a perfect letter with a question is not a guarantee of completing the job. But if you follow the 10 steps described in this book, you will have a much better chance of creating a professional questionnaire that will be read and assigned.
Note: To not write too hard as he/she and she, I allowed myself to label the editor as “she”.
Step 1. Get the right name
When you receive a letter that is addressed to you by “Dear Buyer” or “Dear Owner,” do you feel that this letter is directly addressed to you?
It’s like spam being sent to millions of other people, isn’t it? If you send a letter to the editor in which she addresses her “Dear Editor” or “Dear Lord/Mistress”, she will feel that this question has not been given much time and attention, effort and that she is right.
If there is one thing that every freelance writer should know, it is that your article should be specifically for the magazine. To make sure your article fits the style and tone of the magazine, the editor expects you to read certain issues of the publication.
Large posts often have different editors for different sections, and it’s important to direct your question to the right person. When a news editor receives a news story, he may not have the time or desire to send it to a news editor, and your question will not be read. So take a moment to find out if you should send your question to someone other than the editor. Usually you will find all the necessary information in the hat.
If you don’t want to spend money buying all the magazines you want to write about, go to a large newsagent or library and find the titles on your own. Another way is to call the newsroom and ask the secretary.
Keep in mind that the log staff changes regularly, so check every time you send an email with a question to make sure the name is still relevant.
Make sure you write the publisher’s name correctly. Some writers like to see their names written with errors. Also, if you can’t get details of her name, why can she trust you to get information about the subject?
It is permissible to simply refer to an editor as “Dear John Doe” or “Dear Jane Doe” instead of “Dear Mr. Doe” or “Dear Mrs. Doe.” Nowadays, it is not always possible to determine the gender of a person by name. In the case of the editor, it is particularly difficult to determine if she is Miss or Miss.
Step 2. Know your audience
Imagine this scenario:
You are a 35-year-old professional woman. You signed up for Women Today magazine. You like the magazine because you think it’s suitable for women like you. It meets the needs of those who must combine their roles as women, wives and professional mothers. It offers trendy tips for your age group and excellent tips for busy parents. Each issue also has an inspiring story.