At the League of Utah Writers Spring workshop, Carolyn Campbell, who has had over 800 magazine articles published, taught a class called Tips & Tricks for Quick Sales. She shared with the attendees thirty ways to speed up the sale of magazine articles. I will highlight a few of her ideas here:
- Begin with a query or a pre-query
The idea of a pre-query was new to me. Carolyn suggested sending email queries and start out by sending a pre-query consisting of only a couple of sentences stating what article topic you would like to write about. Tell them you will send a complete query if they are interested.
-Three-paragraph query formula
Carolyn uses a three paragraph query. The first is the beginning paragraph of your article, usually and anecdotal paragraph. The second paragraph should state why the person you are writing to should care about your article. This section is the place you would submit, statistics and say why the article is timely. The third paragraph should include why you should be the author. Include your writing background and previous experience.
Close the query by requesting they send you an approximate word length and deadline for the article and state you are available to work on the project immediately.
-Keep moving your inventory
Treat your previously written articles as inventory and resubmit them for further publication. She stressed to give a buyer first rights only, so that you can resubmit. Another option is to offer exclusivity for a certain time period.
Other tips Carolyn shared:
-Follow your gut instinct
-Send your query to multiple markets
-Consider shortening an article or expanding a sidebar
-Review past material for information that has currently become timely
-Remember to check for seasonal sales possibilities
-Feel free to call publications and ask what they are looking for
-Find experts to interview through article archives (Salt Lake County Library online)
-Set aside writing time daily and stick to it.
Carolyn was an amazing instructor, so if you ever get the chance to hear her speak, I highly recommend it.
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