But when you're starting off, all you have is about four paragraphs to make an impression, positive or not. The first query you send may not only be your first impression; it may be the only chance you have to catch the attention of an editor or agent.
Whether you're pitching an article idea to an editor, looking for an agent for your novel, or have a memoir or nonfiction book to sell, you must write a compelling query. That's one reason I put so much emphasis on them when I teach article writing and freelancing workshops, and why I offer query critiques (including the super awesome bonus) occasionally here on the blog.
Looking at other writers' queries can be instructive as well--you can see what works, what doesn't, and get an idea of approaches that may work for you. Here are a few fully-critiqued article pitches that will help you write better ones:
- A parenting magazine pitch;
- A true-life feature pitch (though it could be a service story, as you'll see);
- A service article pitch;
- A pitch for a fitness magazine;
- A general pitch;
- A pitch for a parenting magazine; and
- A pitch for a profile;
Have a book to pitch instead? Then take a look at these:
- A memoir pitch for an agent;
- A pitch for a novel;
- A pitch for a YA ("young adult") series;
- A pitch for a YA novel;
- A novel query; and
- A nonfiction book query;
I hope you find them helpful! Please share this post with other writers!
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