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Query Letters; Real-World Strategies for Selling Your Ideas to an Editor By Kyle Wagner Travel Editor, The Denver Post AWAIs Ultimate Travel Writers Workshop.

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Presentation on theme: "Query Letters; Real-World Strategies for Selling Your Ideas to an Editor By Kyle Wagner Travel Editor, The Denver Post AWAIs Ultimate Travel Writers Workshop."— Presentation transcript:

1 Query Letters; Real-World Strategies for Selling Your Ideas to an Editor By Kyle Wagner Travel Editor, The Denver Post AWAIs Ultimate Travel Writers Workshop Denver, CO July 2009

2 What to do Be succinct: Your first few words matter Know the publication Know the guidelines and follow them Check the archives Make the story the focus E-mail over snail mail is almost always preferred

3 What not to do Act like the editors buddy List the famous people you know Turn the query into a resume Forget to use spell-check Send more than two ideas Send a large file of high-rez photos

4 Bad Query Hey Kyle: My name is PERKY NAME HERE. I'm a freelance writer living in Aspen, and I'd love to work with you! I've written for television news, entertainment television, various periodicals and loads of other publications. I love to travel, and I think I see Aspen (having moved here from Los Angeles, after the entertainment industry wore me out) through the eyes of a tourist. I'd love to contribute - in anyway possible (I am off to NYC the first week of March - any interest in a piece on the Opera? ). Anyhow - enough about what I would love to do... my website has a few recent articles – WEBSITE HERE. Please let me know if I should make an appointment to meet you in person - or what the next step might be.

5 Another Bad Query Hello, I just returned from working a year in Western Australia, and thought an article on the same would be good for your Travel section. It could be on Perth, where I worked, or on anywhere from the Ningaloo Reef to Cape Leeuwen, including the wine country. The article might also work in your Jobs section, as Australia is hiring. They have a program called the 457 Visa (think, Green Card), that I worked under, as well as a lot of other foreign nationals. I'm a freelance writer, and have written for you before (tho' it's been a while. It was an article on the boomers out near Wray for your Outdoors section). My writing resume is attached. Please let me know if I can write one or both of these articles for you. Best regards,

6 Good Query Ms. Kyle Wagner Travel Editor, Denver Post Dear Kyle, Surrounded by burgeoning vineyards and poppy fields, the historic Canal du Midi is a snaking corridor whose walls are mighty tree trunks, and whose ceilings are leafy branches casting shade along gentle waters. It's the setting for a barge hotel cruise amidst the soft breezes and brilliant "light" found no where else but in the South of France. I traveled to the Languedoc region last month and I'm happy to present this story for your consideration. It involves a couple of days on the barge cruise and also visits to nearby Beziers and the walled city of Carcassonne. The trip includes forays into the surrounding culinary opportunities – the local cheeses, wines and other regional delights being produced – many of which were accessible by the bikes provided on the barge. Natives often open their homes to out-of-towners and are eager to share information about the areas specialties, and the story includes an If You Go about where to stop, dine and chat. I'm now pitching it to newspapers and offer you first rights in your circulation area. The story runs 1,200 words. I'm certainly hoping you strongly consider using it -- just in time for the summer tourism season. For a look at my credentials and where I've been published, please click on (website here).(website If you give me the word, I'll mail you many excellent digital photos on disk. I have pasted several below for your review, followed by the story. Thank you very much for your kind consideration. Best regards,

7 Another Good Query Dear Mr. Wagner: Most people think they know Death Valley, but theres much more there than shimmering desert roads and short hikes punctuated by retreats to air-conditioned cars. Another Death Valley emerges around November, when the heat chasers have checked out and daytime highs have dropped to more humane levels. Your readers will find that a deeper connection with the Parks stark scenery and stunning terrain await them in Hospitable Death Valley," which appears below (1200 words). Optionally, I can focus more sharply on the backcountry car camping angle and center the article around this. Either way, I have high-quality photography to select from. You can view the images at (website). I can send selected photos at the proper dimensions immediately upon request. Sincerely, (name).

8 This one, not so good Kyle Wagner. My name is (name), and I am inquiring about writing opportunities in the Denver Post travel section. Included in this e-mail is my resume and links to published clips of my writing. I am currently the Managing Editor of the (xxxx) newspaper. I have won state journalism awards and have been published in regional and national magazines, including Utne Reader, 5280, AlterNet, Dragonfire and Super Lawyer Magazine, as well as numerous alternative newsweeklies throughout America. I have a strong background in features, entertainment and sports writing, as well as a firm grasp of AP style and the meaning of a deadline. I appreciate your time and consideration and look forward to hearing from you. Thank you. (name)

9 Things to think about Sell the story, not yourself. This is a competition, and may the best stories win. Editors dont want to be your friend. They want you to make their jobs easier. In an e-mail, the subject line can make or break you. In a mailed piece, its the first line of the cover letter.

10 And finally, it cant hurt… …to send one of these.

11 Thank you.

12 © Copyright 2009 by American Writers & Artists Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Published by: American Writers & Artists Inc. 245 NE 4th Avenue, Suite 102 Delray Beach, FL 33483

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