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Freelance Writing Queries: How to sell yourself

When putting together a freelance writing query letter, you are more or less attempting to sell yourself to a particular editor. If you do this with success, you have a good chance of landing a gig. The question is: where do you draw the line between selling yourself and going overboard? Remember, you are writing a query letter not a sales letter.

Here are five details that you want to include in your query letter. By touching on these areas, you will be able to sell your services without being overbearing:

1. Show your experience first and foremost. This can be tricky if you are new to freelance writing, but even then, if you are creative it is possible. Editors want to see that you have experience as a writer; this will put them at ease when assigning you a project.

2. Although writing experience is important, if you can show that you have relevant experience you will be in a much better position. For instance, when querying sports publications I always include information on my two in-print sports books. This shows that I have worked within the niche in the past, and that I am more than capable of doing so again in the future.

3. Do you have connections that you can call on to spice up the piece? This is a big plus, and one that may get you the nod over your competition. When you can include an interview or quotes from a big name in the industry, editors will definitely consider working with you. Don’t think you have any connections? Chances are that if you think long and hard you can come up with a few people who you can easily get in touch with; it just takes some creativity.

4. For more in-depth pieces, you will want to sell your research skills. You can do this once again by talking about past projects that required extensive research, interviews, etc. This will not always be a benefit that you want to include in your letter, but more times than not it will help your situation.

5. Feel free to add information on past accomplishments such as awards. If you are going to do this, make sure that you don’t go overboard or come across as if you are bragging. This can be hard to avoid, but you must make sure that you resist the temptation.

Does this seem like a lot of information to include in a query letter? If so, you are right. Remember, your letter should be no longer than one page. Although it may seem impossible to include all of these details, you can make it happen if you take your time and put your mind to it. 

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4 Comments »Freelance WritingApril 30th, 2008

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