Once you have decided to create a need and market for your photography with a magazine, you must next understand exactly how to go about getting your work in front of editors. Writing articles are a lot of work. They take time to formulate, write, edit, etc. . . After all of that work your article can still be rejected by an editor, or even pulled from the lineup after accepted. So obviously the last thing you want to do is to spend all of this time hunched over the computer hacking away at a keyboard for nothing. This is where the query letter comes into play.
The query letter is something that you need to become familiar with. This is the vehicle that you will use to put your story ideas in front of editors. Entire books have been written just on the art of writing successful query letters and if you are serious about breaking into the editorial market this way, than I highly suggest picking up one of these books and writing a few practice query letters before diving head first into the game.
Basically a query letter is a multifaceted tool that you will use to convey your ideas. This is your first impression with an editor. You want your query letter to be the best of the best of your writing skills. Edit the heck out of this thing. You want it concise and to the point, but you also want it to be captivating, grab the editors attention right off the bat, and convince him that this is an article idea that his readers are really going to want to read. This of course is no small task.
There are so many different opinions on what is, and what is not, a good query letter. Personally, I try and keep my query letters down to less than one page in length. Editors are extraordinarily busy. They don’t want to read a full manuscript about a manuscript idea! They are scrutinizing every aspect of your query letter – from length to writing style to your ability to convey your point.
Don’t let this stuff deter you from pitching stories to editors though. Magazines are in constant need of material to publish. Often times if an editor likes your idea, than they will be happy to work with you in formulating an article that matches their style.
Some of the books that I recommend checking out in regards to writing query letters and working with editors are as follows:
The Writer’s Digest Handbook for Magazine Writing
The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters
To be continued . . .