15 Tips to Make an Editor Fall in Love with Your Query Letter


Query Letter Tips That Get You Noticed. Makealivingwriting.comIs your query letter good enough to make an editor fall in love with you?

Admit it or not, you’re probably at least a little emotionally invested in that query letter when you send it off to an editor.

You work hard on it, interview sources, research, and chip away at writing the perfect lede and headline.

And it would be nice to get a little something in return. Right?

An email. A phone call. A text message. A letter in the mail. Smoke signals. Anything that let’s you know your query letter hit home when the editor read your pitch. Or even better than that…a contract.

But let’s face it. Sometimes the writer-editor relationship is, well, complicated. You put your heart and soul into a story idea, send it off, and nothing happens.

So how do you write a query letter that gets you noticed? Here are 15 tips to make an editor fall in love with your pitch:

1. How One Query Letter Got $6,000 in Assignments

Looking for smart way to score some editor love? Carol Tice explains the gutsy way she turned one query letter into a pile of money from multiple assignments.

2. How I Got Magazine Writing Gigs From All 3 of My Dream Markets

We’ve all got those dream publications we want to write for, ones we read as a teen, ones we’ve followed as readers passionate about the topic, or the ones that will finally make our families see us as real writers. If you’re second-guessing your pitch-appeal to an editor, read this. Freelance writer Penny Hawes explains her query letter strategy to break into her three favorite magazines.

3. Why Your Query Letter Gets No Response: The Painful Truth

Not getting any responses from the dozens of query letters you’ve cranked out? Take a good look in the mirror and say” “It’s not you, it’s me.” Then read this post. It might not be pretty, but you’ll get some tough-love advice from Carol Tice to clean up your query quandary.

4 . How I Got 5 Paid Blogging Gigs with One Query Letter

What if you could write a single query letter and score a handful of assignments? Sounds kind of crazy if you haven’t been getting any attention from editors. But it’s possible. Here’s how freelance writer Anthony Sills did it.

5. How I Got More Writing Assignments with Multiple Personality Querying

Every query letter you write should include a brief bio about your work as a freelance writer. But there’s a mistake a lot of people make when it comes to this, and it doesn’t have to be that way. Want to increase your chances of landing an assignment the next time you write a query letter? Use C. Hope Clark’s multiple personality approach to get noticed.

6. 12 Proven Ways You Can Still Earn Well with Article Writing

If you keep getting the silent treatment from editors, despite your best efforts, you may need to change your approach to get noticed. How about some relationship advice? Carol Tice spells out 12 ways to spice up your query and article-writing skills to make money writing.

7. The Lucrative Business of Dumpster Diving for Freelance Ideas

When freelance writer John Makohen thought he was out of query letter ideas to land assignments, he did something unexpected. He started digging through the trash…the trash bin where he kept story ideas and old query letters. A little time away from those ideas, help him pitch new stories to land assignments. Here’s how he did it:

8. Writing a Pitch: Use These Tools to Build Your Freelance Business

Want to learn the craft of writing a pitch to land more assignments? Freelance writer Holly Hughes-Barnes lays out her strategy to write query letters and letters of introduction, along with cold-pitch and follow-up emails to get noticed by magazine editors and marketing directors.

9. Pitch Accepted: The Newbie Strategy That Landed a Major Magazine Assignment

Freelance writer Douglas Fitzpatrick wanted to break into a major magazine, but he didn’t have many clips or a lot of experience. Not exactly the freelance-writer profile that’s going to be attractive to an editor. But people do crazy stuff for love all the time. Here’s how he beat the odds with a winning query letter and landed a national magazine assignment.

10. 3 Guest Post Pitch Emails That Got the Gig

Ever wonder what the secret sauce is to writing a guest post pitch that gets accepted? In the dating world, the difference might be found in pick-up lines, fashion sense, and personality. And it’s not that different if you’re trying to win the attention of an editor. Here’s what you need to know:

11. Freelance Writing Jobs: Here’s Why You Suck at Getting Them

Frustrated with your efforts to find freelance writing jobs? It’s a common problem that plagues a lot of writers who are in denial about what’s really happening. You might think that your query letter writing skills suck, but that may not actually be the reason you’re struggling to land assignments. Want to get in front of more editors? Here’s how:

12. What Editors Love: 11 Insider Tips for Freelance Writers

Pleasing editors may seem difficult. But you don’t have to be confused about how to handle these tricky relationships any more. Check out these tips from pro editors to learn how to get noticed, land multiple assignments, and become an editor’s go-to writer.

13. How to Land That First Big Magazine Writing Assignment

What freelance writer doesn’t dream of snagging a magazine writing assignment for newsstand favorites such as Men’s Health, SELF, or GQ? Heavyweight magazines may be hard to crack, but with smart, persistent strategy, it’s possible — even if you’ve never had a national magazine writing assignment before. Here’s the query letter writing strategy freelance writer Lauren Bedosky uses:

14. 6 Quick Ways to Tweak Your Pitches to Get More Article Writing Jobs

Go ahead. Admit it. You were heartbroken when the editor at one of your dream magazines sent you a standard rejection letter. Freelance writer Carolyn Heneghan knows the feeling. She was actually rejected eight different times by the same editor, until she cracked the code and landed an assignment. Here’s what you need to know:

15. How I Got My First National Magazine Article Gig: Step by Step

Ever wonder what it takes to craft the perfect query letter, land an assignment, and deliver the goods to the editor? It’s a give-and-take like any relationship. And if you do it right, it’s a beautiful thing. Here’s how freelance writer racy Hume scored her first major magazine assignment with a smart query letter.

Write your best query letter every time

Wondering how to master the query letter process to land assignments? It’s not rocket science. Learn the basics, and start pitching. You’ll stack up rejections. You’ll get some feedback. And you’ll get better, if you keep going. Pitch an editor with your best query letter every time, eventually you’ll find a match.

Need help with your query letter? Leave a comment and let’s discuss.

Evan Jensen is the blog editor for Make a Living Writing. When he’s not on a writing deadline or catching up on emails, he’s training to run another 100-mile ultra-marathon.

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  1. Briana Yablonski

    Thanks for this roundup! It helped me learn some of the key elements to successful pitches.

    I am wondering how long you should wait after sending a query letter to send another to the same contact. If you don’t get a response in a few weeks, is it a good move to keep pitching other ideas?

    • Carol Tice

      Briana, my stock response is: Wait zero minutes. There is no ‘waiting’ in freelance writing. Not a thing.

      Assume you will never hear back and proceed immediately to pitch more ideas elsewhere!


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