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Six query tips that have nothing to do with writing

Writing Etc.: Become a Writer for Hire

April 7, 2015

~~~ Notes from Minnesota ~~~

Hey Freelancer,

I’m officially a hipster doodle.

I recently purchased a Mac. Not only that, but I’ve taken to hopping in my Smart Car, driving to Caribou Coffee, and enjoying my Northern Lite Mocha (extra whip) while writing.

I know. I’m one handle-bar mustache away from being as cool as the other Caribou writers. I’ll get working on that. :})

That said, I really do love my Mac. Wow. It’s an awesome piece of writing equipment. I haven’t been this enthused about a computer since I got my Linux desktop.

But I digress.

The reason I left Windows was because the Mac has a number of programs I needed to run my websites more efficiently.

You’ll have to check out my progress. is getting a comprehensive face lift… including the building of an entire, free Starter Library.

The first book is up, the second’s good to go, and I’ve got at least eight more in the queue. All the titles are either entertaining, productivity related, or tips to help make the most of your writing career.

I hope you’ll join me over there, the going ons over there are going to be completely separate from Writing Etc. and promises to be a pretty fun adventure.

I may have been quiet lately, but things are going to heat up. A lot. 🙂

I hope you’ll join me on the flip side. Here’s the link:

Onward and upward,

Beth 🙂


Got Questions?

  • How do I land writing assignments?
  • How do I get published?
  • How do I gain a readership?
  • What makes an effective query?
  • How do I sell my writing?

All these questions (and many more) answered here: “Advice to Freelance Writers: Insider Secrets to Effective Shoestring Marketing, Managing a Winning Mindset, and Thriving in Any Economy, Volumes 1 – 3.” Get the scoop here.


Six query tips that have nothing to do with writing.

— Beth Ann Erickson

Query mistakes abound. However, some are so incredibly easy to avoid, it’s a shame many authors seem to commit them far too regularly. This spring, a number of interesting, yet unfortunate query errors passed my desk. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Don’t blanket your entire envelope in tape. Letters rarely open in transit. When you line your envelope in packing tape, you make it difficult, if not impossible for me to open your letter. If I manage to do so, I’ve generally destroyed something… either your return address or  component in your query.

2. Don’t send your entire manuscript unless someone asks for it. I’m saving you some big bucks here. Postage is expensive. Photocopying isn’t cheap either. Send a simple one page query. Easy peasy.

3. Don’t send your query via registered mail. Wow. That’s expensive. I felt bad when I sent the rejection letter for that one.

4. Include a SASE. The before-mentioned registered letter did not contain a SASE. I replied only because the author spent so much on getting the letter to me and he was a senior citizen. It was a good book, but we don’t publish his genre. Which leads me to…

5. Read the submission guidelines. You can save yourself a lot of time and/or postage by reading these. If you don’t read the submission guidelines, don’t brag that you didn’t. Guidelines save your time by helping you target your efforts.

6. Don’t be afraid to query via email. Electronic correspondence is inexpensive and sometimes faster. If you don’t receive a reply in a decent time frame, feel free to follow up. Spam filters can be troublesome.

7. Please don’t insult the recipient (potential publisher) in your first paragraph. Sure, it’s an attention getter, but some attention isn’t worth it. Also, don’t announce that your manuscript is so good, you don’t need to follow submission guidelines. (See tip #5).

So, there you have it. Five tips that have nothing to do with writing that will aid in getting your query not only read, but hopefully hitting its target. Now… get writing. 🙂


You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.”



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