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Monday, May 19, 2014

The Most Effective Follow-up You Can Write

Last week I talked about the importance of following up on your pitches and letters of introduction. Well, if you've never done that before, you may be wondering what to say. Here's a template to follow, with my comments in pink (my daughter's favorite color)

Dear Stephanie:

Hope you’re doing well. I’m writing to follow up on a query I sent you (working title, “Sleep Yourself Thin”) four weeks ago; I’ve dropped it below for your convenience. [Remind the editor of which pitch you're following up on, and include it in your follow-up (in the body of the email, not as an attachment) to make it easy for her. ]

Would you let me know at your earliest opportunity if you’re interested in this story for Complete Woman? If I don’t hear from you within two weeks, I’ll assume you’re not interested in the idea at this time and may market it elsewhere. [Here's the bonus of following up--you put the onus on the editor to get back to you. If she wants the piece, great! If not, I'm not going to sit around for months hoping for a response--I'm moving on, baby. I've found this tends to provoke a response, even it's a "no thanks." You can give a market more time to respond--say three to four weeks--if you like. The idea is to give the editor (and yourself) a deadline.]

Thank you very much for your time; I look forward to hearing from you soon. [Standard closing line.]

Very truly yours,
Kelly James-Enger

**See how simple an effective follow-up is? It should take you less than 10 minutes to send, and should provoke a response. If you don't receive one, then find the next market that may be interested, and move on. Your pitches won't do you any good on your hard drive. 

Want to see more templates? One of the reasons Dollars and Deadlines: Make Money Writing Articles for Print and Online Markets and Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer's Guide to Making More Money, Second Edition are so popular with readers is that they both include more than a dozen templates--real-life queries, LOIs, sample contracts, and even examples of what to say when contacting a potential source, for example. Well worth the money--and if you don't have a Kindle, you can pick up electronic versions (Dollars) (Six-Figure Freelancingat Smashwords here.