How to Submit Query to Magazine?
July 22, 2009 8:44 PM   Subscribe

How does one submit a professional query to a national magazine?

I am a yoga teacher looking to submit some pieces to Yoga Journal for possible publication. I have never submitted a query before. What does this consist of and what is the best way to approach it?
posted by goalyeehah to Writing & Language (5 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Believe me, editors get enough queries every day that they know one when they see it, so you don't have to use any weird format or explain to them what you're doing. The best way to approach it is to just dive right in.

Just write a simple, conversational letter explaining what you'd like to write for them, why you think this would be of interest to their readers, and talk briefly about your qualifications. Since you haven't done this before, you're not offering your writing ability but your knowledge of the subject, so talk about your experience as a yoga teacher.

And (without getting weird) try to get some of your personality into the letter. The text of the letter is what I described above - what you're proposing and why you're qualified to do it. The subtext is, "this is someone with a point of view and a voice that will be fun to read. Our readers will like this person and will be interested in what they have to say."

Shorter is better, as long as you don't leave out anything that would convince them to greenlight you. In no case go over a page, and there should be a lot of white on that page. Dig around the net and you ought to be able to find samples. Though some are better than others.
posted by Naberius at 9:15 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Great advice there by Naberious (used to freelance myself for many years, all kinds of levels, publications and media).

I would say letter format should go like this - this has worked a treat for me in many situations. Feel free to expand, but not too much!

1. Dear XXX my name is YYY and I'm interested in writing an article for ZZZ about AAA.

2. I'm a BBB with CCC years of experience, at DDD places.

3. I'd like to write an article talking about how AAA is often confused with EEE and how practioners can overcome it with FFF.

4. I was aiming for a length of about GGG. Let me know if this is of interest for you.

5. Thanks very much for your time, HHHH.

Because you're a newbie when it comes to journalism, if you got the intro, or even the whole article, feel free to attach it. No need for a separate cover letter from the intro.

You may be shocked by how happy people are to hear (or read!) you out! Content is in very high demand these days, and quality is typically shit, so if you look like you can string a sentence together and aren't gonna be a headache to editors they will be - rightfully - grateful.

One other things - they may not pay, or they may not pay much. If they're professional, they will mention this in their reply. If they don't, ask about it once they've accepted you to write the piece. Don't be funny about it, just ask politely and upfront. :) I would stress about getting paid, these days, it's not really an indicator of much, contrary to what some would have you believe.

Feel free to memail if you want to discuss more.
posted by smoke at 10:20 PM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]

wouldn't. I wouldn't stress.
posted by smoke at 10:22 PM on July 22, 2009

Look on Yoga Journal's website and find out the name of the editor(s) if you haven't already done that. Consider cc-ing the editorial assistant as well -- he or she may be paying more attention to e-mail pitches than a swamped editor would.

I work at a newsweekly, and we have worked with freelancers who started out by e-mailing compelling stories or pitches. It does happen -- good luck!
posted by vickyverky at 10:43 AM on July 23, 2009

The Writer's Market has contact information and submission requirements for just about every single magazine known to man. See if your library has a copy. Or, if you can wait a week, I'll be back home in the States and can look in my 2009 copy for you.
posted by cooker girl at 2:24 PM on July 23, 2009

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