Start journaling your heart out today. Have your very own Journaling Kit™ shipped to your doorstep...FREE!

E-books Workshops
Free Course
Support Us
Founded April 2000. A Writer's Digest Magazine 101 best Web sites for writers (2001 & 2003)
WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! by Shery Ma Belle Arrieta
Write and Publish Your Novel
Hullabaloo Magazine

Buy a novel by Lucille Bellucci at and receive these .pdf bonuses:

  • 17 Ways to Make Amazon Your River of Gold
  • Make Money with Radio
  • Success Bound
  • Book Promotion: NOT for Sissies
  • Harvey Mackay Rolodex
  • Top 20 Talk Radio Topics
  • Harrison Bonus
  • Million Dollar Rolodex

    E-mail Lucille at lucil95783 AT aol DOT com to claim your bonuses.
  • Write Any Book in 28 Days... Or Less!
    Write Any Book in 28 Days... Or Less! New course reveals fresh secrets. Click here to learn more.

    The Secret Behind Creativity REVEALED! It's all in the brainwaves. Find out here!

    EasyEbookPro Books

    Click here to advertise with us for 2 whole months for only $35!

    Home Columns

    Know the Traget Before Firing the Query

    Spraying the publishing landscape with poorly targeted queries rarely leads to a bull's eye with editors. Haphazardly aimed queries from unfocused writers demonstrate laziness and lead mostly to rejection.

    When you send a query to an editor, make sure you have done at least the minimal amount of homework required to get your query considered. Otherwise, your laziness could thwart any chance of getting published. Here's an example of a lazy writer who didn't care enough to take the extra few minutes of effort to personalize his pitch, which led to a quick rejection.

    This recent query jumped off my monitor to inform me the writer was not a serious candidate for an assignment. The heavy stench of gross laziness led to its prompt deletion from my in-box. This particular query was sent to my e-mail address, which indicated the writer had the right person for submissions. Then, the words "Articles Editor" and "Dear Sir or Madam" smacked me with a brand of indifference and laziness that compelled me to send it to the trash bin without replying.

    After the first few lines I could tell this same letter had been sent to dozens of editors listed in some database -- a blanket approach that isn't personal enough to catch the attention of any editor. The writer must have failed "Freelancing 101." Anyone serious about writing knows and understands that impersonal queries do not spark attention.

    Then, the query got worse. The self-proclaimed "author" began his query with his credentials: An active author for seven years, eight hardback and four paperbacks to his credit, 55,000 copies sold, etc. They were solid credentials, but they were jammed down my throat before the writer so much as attempted to sell me on a story idea. Sell the story first, then sell your abilities.

    After forging through the credentials, which rambled on at a length inappropriately long for a query letter, I finally made it to his pitch. In this case, the writer suggested a series of 2,000-word stories addressing a legal matter -- a topic already covered monthly in my magazine by a contributing editor. This freelancer failed to take the time to conduct a five-minute Internet search, which would have revealed:

    • the editor's name is Joe Kelly;
    • he is a "Sir," not a "Madam;"
    • there is no "Articles Editor;"
    • the magazine already covers the subject being pitched;
    • the subject being pitched is covered by a regular columnist who is also a contributing editor for legal issues;
    • the columnist has written monthly for the magazine for several years; and the magazine rarely runs stories of a 2,000-word length.

    Less than midway through the query I had discovered that the writer was lazy, didn't do his homework, and didn't have the slightest chance of earning an assignment. He bypassed the simplest of required research. Without saying it directly, he told me he didn't care about my magazine or its readers. If you can't take a few minutes to learn something about the magazine you are querying, you won't land many assignments because you don't deserve them. You probably won't get as much as a rejection letter.

    The greatest credentials in the world will not overshadow a lazy query. In the editor's mind, a lazy query always precedes a lazy story. If you don't do the simple research required before sending a query, what kind of lazy research will appear in your story? I don't care if John Grisham sends me a query. If he addresses the letter with "Dear Sir or Madam," he won't get the assignment either. That's how editors think. By understanding how they think you can gain a competitive advantage.

    If you want to minimize rejection, minimize laziness. Do your homework and make sure the publications and editors you query might be interested in your story idea. Then, pitch them directly in a short query that focuses on the story, not the credentials.

    In the end, the goal is to find a suitable target, send out a focused arrow, and hope for a bull's eye. If you can direct your query to the right person, address him or her properly, pitch a great idea, and sell your ability to write about that idea, your chances increase tenfold. Let lazy writers spray the publishing ranks with futile attempts. Their laziness could be your payday.

    Copyright © 2001 Joseph M. Kelly

    Joseph M. Kelly, who is editor of Electrical Contractor magazine in Bethesda, Md., and a Baltimore, Md.-based freelance writer, has been published in daily and weekly newspapers, national trade magazines, newsletters and online. His work has appeared in The Maryland Coast Dispatch, Hardware Age, Home Improvement Market, LBM Retailer, Garden Supply Retailer, Decorative Products Retailer, Outdoor Power Equipment, Association Publishing, Writing For Money, The Baltimore Press, The Enterprise, Electrical Contractor,, Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel, and several other publications.

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ

    WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! Kick start your imagination, ignite your creativity, and begin your journey towards becoming an outstanding writer.

    Grab a copy of WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! from and receive 2 free e-books to encourage and nurture the writer in you. You'll also receive Write Memories, a journaling workbook available for free only to WEEKLY WRITES book owners. And finally, as a WEEKLY WRITES book owner, you'll have free access to e-mail courses such as JOYFUL WRITES: Celebrate Your Life through Writing

    For excerpts, reviews and what you need to do to receive the 2 free e-books, Write Memories and sign up for free e-mail courses, just head on to the Weekly Writes Book Official Site. (Clicking on the link will open a new window.)


    The Journaling Life: 21 Types of Journals You Can Create to Express Yourself and Record Pieces of Your Life

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between

    Journaling Kit - Four Journaling Books to help you put your life and memories on paper


    The Web
    This Site

    Celebrate Your Life through Writing

    Creative Nurturing of the Writer Within

    6 Approaches to Journaling

    21 Ways to Jumpstart Your Muse

    Imagery in Writing


    Children's Writing
    Freelance Writing
    Science Fiction & Fantasy
    Technical Writing


    The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publishers Won't by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

    WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! by Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

    Home | Articles | Columns | Workshops | E-books | Free Course | Quotes | E-zines | Top Fives | Support Us
    © Copyright 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ & The e-Writer's Place.
    Materials appearing in this Web site are owned and copyrighted by their respective authors and/or writers. Please read our Privacy Policy and TOS. No part of this website may be reproduced without consent from its owner. Original site design by Shery Russ. Hosting & maintenance by
    WriteSparks! Lite free software for writers
    Our sister sites: | | | | | | | | Writers Web Designs | | Aspiring Authors | Books | | | | | |