Books Magazine

Time Travel: On Guest Posts and Queries

By Clogsandtulips @clogsandtulips
I'm off on vacation until September 6th. But just because I'm taking a break doesn't mean you get to too! To keep your little writer/reader minds sharp, here are some past posts I thought you might enjoy. See you next week!
On guest posts and queries originally posted on June 7, 2011
Time Travel: On guest posts and queriesThere is one valuable lesson to be learned about submitting guest posts to other blogs and querying editors and agents. And that is this: do your homework!
The one fool proof way to get this lesson to sink in is to become an editor, agent, or blogger yourself.
For about a year now, I've been accepting guest posts on my blog Clogs and Tulips: An American in Holland. The blog has pretty thorough About Me and About The Blog pages as well as an archive of over 200 posts. Labels, a monthly poll, blog series, blogroll, links, and information in the sidebar - not to mention the blog title and mission statement - all point to the fact that this is a blog for expats living in, coming from, moving to, or interested in the Netherlands.
Yet, I have been shocked at the number of queries and submissions I get that have nothing to do with the blog topic.
Even more obnoxious is the fact that every email begins with "I just love your blog and devour every post you've written!"
Really? Because if that were so, one would think your submission would at least have something to do with the blog topic.
As a blogger and a woman with many other responsibilities and interests, these kinds of emails are such a waste of my time. So much so, that I have stopped replying to these people altogether.
Lately, I've also been getting emails and Facebook messages from people containing submissions and queries for publications I have written for in the past. Please, people. Just because I have freelanced for certain publications does not mean that I accept submissions and queries on their behalf. In many cases, I still have to send queries and submissions to these publications myself! My name isn't even mentioned on their websites, for crying out loud!
Do your homework.
If the agency website says they only accept Young Adult, don't send them your latest children's book. If the blog's topic is making money blogging, don't send them a guest post submission on how to prepare for a job interview. If the magazine publishes short stories, don't send them the manuscript for your latest novel.
By sending them the exact opposite of what they're looking for, all you're doing is frustrating them and deminishing your chances of being taken seriously.
Do your homework.
Find out exactly who you should be sending your submissions to. Scour the website for submission guidelines as well as the name and contact information of the person in charge of accepting submissions and queries. Call the office if you have to and ask for the name of the editor or agent and current contact information.
Read a few back issues of the magazine before writing your submission or query. Check out other books and authors represented by the agency you're interested in submitting to. Read through the blog's archive, about page, mission statement, and check out the sidebar for more information. See if the publication, blog, or agency you're interested in has a Twitter account or Facebook Page.
Make sure you know what you're talking about and that your query or submission is a good match for the publication or agent you have your eye on.
You'll go far.
Have you ever gotten a submission or query that was a total waste of your and the writer's time? How did you handle it? Have you ever written such a query? What did you learn?
Image: music2work2, Flickr
© 2011 Tiffany Jansen, writer

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog