Landing gigs by sending query letters is nothing new. Thousands of freelance writers send these letters to editors on a daily basis. With so much competition, it is essential that you do something to set yourself apart.
Just recently, I decide to follow-up on a few queries with a quick phone call. While this takes a lot of guts, it is something that has paid off time and time again.
If you are going to give this a try, here are three tips to keep in mind:
1. Make sure you give the editor enough time to receive and review your query. In other words, don’t send a letter Monday and call the editor Wednesday. This is a waste of everybody’s time. I usually wait two weeks before following up with a phone call – my experience has shown this to be the perfect amount of time.
2. Have something to talk about. The last thing you want to do is call an editor, ask if they received the query, and then sit silent on the other end. Remember, you are the one initiating the phone call. You must have a “script” ready so you can move the conversation forward in the appropriate manner. Anytime I call an editor my main goal is to discuss my idea, and eventually ask if I can start writing the piece.
3. Don’t overstep. Editors are busy people. They spend a lot of time reading query letters, and don’t have time to speak with every writer by phone. Make sure you are quick and to the point, while also being friendly and courteous.
Regardless of how you feel about it, following up a query with a phone call can help you land more projects. Do you have the nerve to make these calls?