Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How Much Time Do You Spend on a Query?

Ugh. It figures that I have a few deadlines coinciding with some hot and sticky 90 degree days--where sitting in front of the PC is not my idea of a good time. So I'll keep this short and sweet.

I've sent out quite a few queries in the past few months. Some have landed me assignments, others were rejected, and yet others are still hovering around in that editorial black hole where I have no clue what might happen. I felt I had enough work to tide me over for the next few weeks (between researching, interviewing, and writing), so I haven't been pushing the follow ups or sending out many additional queries.

But I had an idea today, and dashed off a query to a new-to-me publication. Now I'm wondering if I spent enough time on my pitch.

Obviously, the more interested/passionate/knowledgeable we are about a topic, the easier it is to write the query; although, I sometimes have more trouble with the topics I'm especially interested in, because there's so much to say, and I want to be sure to do the topic justice. I feel most confident about those assignments where I know something about the topic, but I'm certainly no expert, and the people I speak with can then fill in any blanks.

My query today was an idea for a niche publication, but on a universal topic, so I hope the editor agrees. The query seemed to come together in only a few minutes, which can be a good or bad thing.

I tend to dash off queries as soon as I do a little bit of research (such as get a few experts or resources in mind), as I have this fear that another writer will pitch my idea before I get to do it. Strange, I know, but I haven't quite been able to shake myself of this habit. Sometimes I'll take a bit longer on a query for a new-to-me publication, or I'll do a quick outline before I lose my idea, and come back and finish it when my idea is more developed. I still follow the query template I'd learned a few years back at a writers' group meeting, but try to flesh out the premise before sending it out. Let's see how this one goes.

What about you? How much time do you spend writing a query?

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