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 business.
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 students?
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!
***Looking for more advice about pitching and successful freelancing? Check out my freelance classic, Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer's Guide to Making More Money, Second Edition. If you're more interested in getting into ghostwriting and content marketing, I suggest Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks: Make Money Ghostwriting Books, Articles, Blogs and More, Second Edition. And if you're brand-new to freelancing, Dollars and Deadlines: Make Money Writing Articles for Print and Online Markets walks you through the process of launching your freelance career.
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