Some of my most popular posts on this blog have been on querying, including the query critiques I've offered. That's not surprising considering how important strong query skills are to successful freelancing. If your query skills aren't up to par, or you want to make your queries even more effective, I suggest Jodi Helmer's upcoming Query Boot Camp class. Here's the scoop:
Q: Jodi, tell me a little bit about the class.
A: Query Boot Camp is a six week
virtual class. Every Monday, I send a video lesson related to querying; on
Friday, participants email a query and I do an in-depth critique that helps
them hone their idea and pitch to increase their chances of landing an
assignment. I offer an upgraded version of the class that includes three
30-minute phone mentoring sessions. We can spend the calls doing a deep dive
into a specific idea and brainstorming angles and potential markets or use the
time to develop goals/business strategies for freelance success. It's a good
option for writers who want extra support to launch or build their writing
Q: What can participants expect to get out of the class?
A: Writers, myself
included, often send ideas to editors without the benefit of a second opinion.
Having an experienced freelancer review a pitch before the editor sees it can
mean the difference between an acceptance and a rejection. As the saying goes,
"You never get a second chance to make a first impression." Your
query is your first introduction to an editor; you want to make sure it
shines. Offering the class virtually lets writers work at their own pace
(and we know how much freelancers like to set their own schedules)!
Q: What made you decide to offer this virtual class?
A: I kept getting
requests for a query intensive. Even experienced writers with a lot of clips in
their portfolios wanted to have their queries critiqued before sending them off
to new editors or dream publications.
Q: You also offer one-on-one mentoring/coaching for
freelancers, correct? What does that entail?
A: Yes, I work one-on-one with
writers who want individual support to reach their freelancing goals. Writers
can hire me for a single query critique or an hourlong phone call to work
through an issue or get feedback on an idea...whatever a writer needs to sell a
story or take their business to the next level. Interestingly, query critiques
are the most in-demand service I offer!
Q: Can you share a couple of success stories from your
A: I love bragging about my students! The nuts and bolts: I've helped
writers break into Natural Health, Parents, Experience Life, Urban Farm, Gluten
Free Living, Natural Home & Garden, Modern Dog, Country Woman, Today.com
and cottagelife.com. While the publishing credits are exciting, there are other
successes that are important, too. A writer scheduled a one-hour session for
help managing her workload. She was offered three long-term projects, all due
in the same timeframe, and wanted to tackle all of them but knew she didn't
have the bandwidth to accept all three gigs. We talked about the pros and cons
of each project, crunched some numbers and, most importantly, evaluated which
project would get her one step closer to her long-term goals. At the end of the
call, she made a decision and followed through.
I also helped a former
newspaper journalist (who left the business decades ago to pursue another career
path) launch a successful freelance career. He recently sent me an awesome
email that said, "It's all coming together. I suddenly have more work than
I can handle."
Query Boot Camp starts in January, 2015; sign up now and you can write off the expense on your 2014 taxes--and reap the benefits in 2015!