Tips for Querying WOW and Any Other Publication

Monday, April 06, 2020
If you haven't heard, we're currently taking queries for articles for issues of the ezine in late summer and fall. The photo to the right shows you the two themes that we're still accepting queries for. And to take a break from the COVID-19 stories and inspiration, I thought I'd give you a few tips about querying us. I'm sure we're not much different than other editors or publications, so the advice I give below is most likely universal.

Be Specific
Queries should be about one page long, like a regular query letter for an editor or agent for a book manuscript. In the query for an article, it's important to be specific about your idea, including major points or even a short outline. It might seem obvious to you what you're proposing without specific details, but we get a lot of queries. Some of them are similar. If we haven't worked with you before, then we don't know what to expect when the article comes in. Here's an example:

Vague: I am proposing an article about how to be an authorprenuer and support yourself on your book writing income.

Specific: I'm proposing a 2000-word article on the topic of being a full-time book writer, which means--no other day job for the writer but writing books. In the article, I will touch on these key points: how many books to produce a year, advertising and marketing strategies, figuring out your budget and needed income...

There's an obvious difference to those query examples; and in this case, we would give the contract to query two, as long as she's qualified to write it or plans to interview experts, which brings me to my next point.

Include Your Qualifications or Experts Details
A freelance writer can write an article about anything--you don't have to just write what you know. But we need to know your qualifications--how are you supporting yourself on your book writing income? Or you can include the names of experts who have agreed to be quoted and interviewed for the article, so we know your plans. Both ways work, but editors cannot just assume that you will find the experts you need, or you are qualified to write the article. And please don't send us to a website where we have to search around for your qualifications; we need to know in the body of the query. It's also okay to say: "I have plans to interview Author A and Author B, which I will contact on your acceptance of this query."

Check Out Our Website and Archives
Every article we've published on WOW! is in our archives. We have a search function built into our  website, accessible on the home page. If you have an idea, before you query us, look around. Search for your idea. Has it been tackled before? Do you have a new spin? Have things changed in the publishing world since that article was published? You can mention that article. Tell us how yours is different. This a wonderful way to query someone because it shows that you have studied the publication, which is a tried and true rule of querying.

Provide Writing Samples
If you're a published author and your work is online, then provide a link to the article. This helps us know your writing style and your experience. If you aren't published online, then create a writing sample on your website and link to it. That works, too. It shows you are committed and that you can write.

Final Tip...
If the first idea that popped in your mind seems obvious, it probably is. This means that you are not the only writer to have this idea, or you are not the only one writing on this topic. Take thirty minutes and do some research on our site and others. Dig deeper and focus your idea. What new slant can you put on it? Ask yourself if this is the very best idea you can present. If not, what can you do to make it better?

Angela and I love WOW! We love our community and our freelancers. We often work with the same ones because they have done the work and written awesome queries. But we're always looking for new and fresh voices and ideas. Follow us on social media because I do most of it for us; and lately, I've done some Facebook and Instagram stories and even a Live session about querying us and other opportunities.

A Couple More Things: 
If you want a way to support us, readers, and other writers during this time, for $50, you can join me in our #StayHomeandRead event. Email Nicole at nicole@wow-womenonwriting (dot) com to join in.

If you want an opportunity to reach readers and writers (non-paying) in a blog post, send in a Friday Speak Out blog post, around 500 words on writing, to Marcia at marcia (at) Check any Friday Speak Out blog post to get an idea of what type of article to write.

Plus our contests are always open. I just finished judging the first round of the latest flash fiction stories, and there were some great ones! We give cash prizes to these winners. You get published. We have a contest for fiction writers and essay writers. (There is a small fee because we offer cash prizes and pay our judges.)

If you have any questions about querying us, please ask below in the comments. I'm happy to answer anything!   
~ Margo L. Dill, WOW!'s Managing Editor


Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--I'm going to use your tips for querying about a WOW article to revise my query letter for my manuscript, so it came at the perfect time.

Originally, I thought of just writing this comment, but then I thought of a couple of writers I could interview, and am considering querying to do one of the authorpreneur articles... unless I'm not eligible?

Margo Dill said...

You are of course eligible! Please query us. :) You can send the query for authorpreneur whenever. The email address to send queries is submissions[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com and if you go to the CONTACT US page on the website (click on the CONTACT box at the very top of the home page) and scroll down to SUBMISSIONS, it may tell you a few more things that are helpful from Angela.

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