Query a Day: A Freelancer's Quest for Publication

A blog following a Pennsylvania freelance writer in her quest to become published nationally.

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Location: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, United States

Cohabitating with boyfriend and cat in the mountains, soon to be graduate of Wilkes University and attending New School University in fall for MA in media studies.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Queries 23-25: Hangovers, Leads and Small Presses

Some updates:

Query 23

While shopping today for cold medication, I came across a hangover patch which you'd wear while you drink. When you wake up the next day, you will not have a hangover. Thought this would make for a cool try-to-buy story, which I am pitching to a woman's magazine, as well as a local publication.

Query 24
A few weeks ago, I wrote a letter of interest to the Career College Association's magazine to gain future assignments. I thought of an idea for a feature story in some unique ways to develop leads for prospective students. The goal is to have the lowest-cost-per-lead-- so many schools try to gain what they call personally developed leads. I have some ideas for that and can present an article for their admissions section of the magazine.

Query 24
A small publishing press is soon relocating its offices to be housed in a local university, as part of their MA in creative program. This is exciting news, as now the program will have a resident imprint. I am pitching this idea to a writing magazine.

Playing Catch-up: Needed a breather

I'm back. For those of you who have been reading, you know that this was the first full week of my new (old) job and also the first week of my condensed, five-week long chemistry class. While I may not have delved into all the subject 'matter' yet, I have come to learn that some elements do not mix: A 9-5 job, a 5:30-10:00 class, freelance writing projects and continuous pitching (which also includes this blog). Oh. And sleep too! Heaven help me! I'm going bezerk. On top of it all, I've developed a cold. I think it is from the AC at work. It is brutally cold in there and it may have been a shock to my system. DayQuil, NyQuil and tissues in tow, I am ready to get down (and back) to business.

So, I slipped a little. I will try not to let it happen again. This first week of this schedule took some adjusting, but I think I can still manage to keep up with everything. July 10, things will be back to normal. So, this weekend I am trying to play catch-up with the days I have missed out on sending queries.

In other news, I did send out the finished manuscript of the children's book. They report back within six months. So that means that between now and December-ish, I will be tackling the mail lady.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Query #22: Soup of the Day, Take 3

Happy Sunday. Just like that, the weekend is over. Gone. Back to work tomorrow. I spent the better part of the weekend working on the manuscript for the children's story. I can't wait to get it off to the publisher, but I want to be sure several people look it over first. I get chills thinking about the possibility of this story being on a shelf one day! (Not sure if those chills are from the excitement, or because the story is set in the winter!)

Since I received a few rejections for the Soup of the Day story, I am going to shop it elsewhere. I sent out a new query to a different publication today on that. I also wrote a query yesterday for Horse Illustrated on a local rescue organization, but they prefer queries to be mailed, not emailed, so I will officially send that one out on Monday. I found out about that magazine through the AbsoluteWrite.com premium markets newsletter, which I would highly recommend. It's only $15 per year to get this wonderful newsletter! Check it out.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Query #21: Hot? Cold? Screw Mother Nature!

Happy Friday! This week flew by. Must have been the holiday. I just pitched an idea to a local magazine which focuses on the "West Side" of the Wyoming Valley (which means across the lovely Susquehanna) of the Greater Wilkes-Barre area. A local career school is getting a new HVAC program, with a construction program to follow. This is targeting a whole new market for the school and also means a brand new building and of course new jobs. I think it may make for a worthy profile. We'll see what happens. My spin? Mother Nature likes to play games with us in NEPA. With more qualified HVAC people, it won't matter. We'll be sure to be cozy either way!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Rejection: But a positive one!

The follow up letters seemed to work. I just received a nice note from one of the editors regarding one of the recent pitches. He stated that the story isn't right for them, but asked to try pitching other ones on (subject he suggested here.)

So, I will be sure to think of some additional ideas! It is just refreshing to know that the queries are being read, responded to and replied to personally rather quickly.

In other news, I am tweaking the children's book manuscript and getting ready to have two editors look it over to be sure it is polished. I cannot get over the fact that I received such a nice letter from the publisher regarding my query. Which brings me to a point. I try very hard to stay positive, and for the most part, this blog has been a very positive experience. I do not want to use this blog as a venting post, as I have one of those at MySpace. However, I do just need to get something off my chest.

There was a very negative post on a freelance writing site's member's only forum about this blog saying it was unprofessional and the writing dreadful. I just wanted to say that first of all, this blog isn't meant to be professional. It is supposed to be a fun way to keep track of my queries, while at the same time being a vehicle to motivate, support and help (and learn from) other writers. As far as the writing being dreadful, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but this blog is not meant to be a judged-by-the-grammar police creative writing sample or article submission. This is just me blogging, blabbing, usually off the top of my head first in the morning when the coffee hasn't set in, or way too late at night when my contacts are starting to stick to my eyelids.

The lesson here: There will always be people who try to discourage you, no matter what. I had an article on these naysayers published once on a motivational website. The best thing to do? Surround yourself with positive people, people who believe in you. Of course there are going to be let downs (as in not being published), but in my experience even editors who do not run with one of your ideas could ask for another. Even enthusiastically. They usually don't tear your stuff apart, not to your face or on a public forum. That's the thing. Thanks to the Internet, we can now network and communicate with other writers and cheer each other on. And, with this blog, I've been thankful for the buzz that was created and the emails I have received and the encouragement from others. Thank you! It is you who make this blog awesome and totally fun to write!