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Here are some useful sources of information:
General query letter resources
Write Query Letters That Sell by Michelle Lee, who has worked as an editor at Mademoiselle, Us Weekly, CosmoGIRL, Parenting, and Glamour magazines. She’s written for Self, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journal, Fitness, Fit, YM, Teen, Maxim, Men’s Health, and others.
How To Write A Successful Query by Moira Allen. An excellent article, part of Writing-World.com.
How To Write A Query Letter by John Hewitt. I especially like the section on what NOT to put in a query letter.
Publish Or Piss Off: Query Letters by Linda Formichelli. Column written for 1099, a magazine for independent professionals.
How to Write a Query Letter: part of eHow.com.
Writing A Query Letter by Charlotte Dillon. Excellent resource, with useful articles, links and sample query letters.
Query Letters by Tara K. Harper.
Writing A Query Letter That Sells by Alex Keegan.
The Complete Nobody's Guide To Query Letters by Lynn Flewelling. Part of SWFA.org.
Dos and Don'ts: How to write the perfect query letter by Gail Eastwood.
Write A Query Letter That Sells by Marilyn Henderson.
Query letters to a literary agent
SoYouWanna write a query letter to a literary agent? (all except children's books) Includes a sample query letter.
Books about writing query letters
Writer's Guide to Queries, Pitches & Proposals by Moira Anderson Allen. Excellent resource, written by the editor of Writing-World.com. Includes useful info about online queries, tips on how to approach newspapers with column or syndication ideas, how to get corporate freelance work, other opportunities.
How To Write Irresistable Query Letters by Lisa Collier Cool. This was the guide I used when I was just starting out; it remains a good resource. Focus is on pitching magazine articles, though there is a chapter on how to query agents and book publishers.
The following are books I found in Amazon but haven't read myself (if you've used any of these, please do post comments):
How to Write Attention Grabbing Query & Cover Letters by John Wood.
The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock : The Freelance Writer's Guide to Selling More Work Faster by Diana Burrell and Linda Formichelli.
ive 'Em What They Want: The Right Way to Pitch Your Novel to Editors and Agents, A Novelist's Complete Guide to : Query Letters, Synopses, Outlines by Blythe Camenson and Marshall J. Cook.
Query Letters That Worked!: Real Queries That Landed $2K+ Writing Assignments by Angela Hoy.
Writer's Guide To Book Proposals: Templates, Query Letters, And Free Media Publicity by Anne Hart.
Do you have other suggestions for useful resources? Please post them below!
I've had a growing number of e-mail queries asking me about freelance rates, so I thought I'd put together a list of some useful resources for this column instead. If you know of any others, feel free to suggest them in the comments section.
The print version of the annual Writer's Market always has a section devoted to pay rates for freelance writers.
How much should a freelancer charge? by Moira Allen, from Writing-World.com. Should you charge by the word or by the hour? Why time isn't the only factor.
Putting a price on your capabilities: How to set your fees as a freelance writer: by Debra Jason. According to this article, determining your fee depends on your overhead, your experience, and your geographic location.
What To Pay A Writer: Canadian freelance rates based on PWAC's rate guidelines.
NUJ freelance fees guide: part of the Freelance Fees Guide. Listed rates refer to articles that appear for the first time in a UK publication.
Freelance pricing strategies: articles on how home-based business services set pay rates.
Copywriting fees: Focus is on copywriting, but there's useful info here for freelancers in general.
Ultimately, however, freelance writing rates will be what the market will bear. Some writers post their rates online, you can find some of them by typing "rates for writing services" or "freelance writing rates" into Google.
You can also check Inkygirl's list of jobs/market resources for places where individuals and companies will sometimes post job listings, including what they are willing to pay writers, or search for writing-related job listings in general job boards.
I'll be posting something about online communities in a future column, so you still have time to put in a good word for your favorite online community or communities for writers!
As I posted in a recent Blathering recently, I've been keeping a daily time sheet ever since I got back from my trip, and I've found that it's greatly helped increase my productivity. I created a template in MS-Word and print a weeks' worth of pages out at a time, keep them in a clipboard on my desk. After a week, I archive them in a binder.
At the top of each day, I have a place to write the date as well as my goals, both work goals and non-work goals. Examples of daily work goals: "Novel: 1200 words" and "Research markets for Italy articles." Examples of daily non-work goals: "Buy stamps at post office" and "Call back Stats Canada." Below that I have a chart where each line has a space for Start Time, End Time, Work Activity and Non-Work Activity.
I'm not suggesting you do this longterm, but I found that after two weeks' worth of detailed records of how I spend my time, I'm already learning how easy it is to feel Busy and Productive when I'm not really being productive at all, or at least not productive in terms of my writing goals. Just forcing myself to be more aware of exactly how I'm spending my time is making me readjust my work habits. The daily log keeps me focused on longterm goals as well as daily goals.
I also don't feel as guilty when I do take a break because I know that I deserve it.
I've started updating Inkygirl again, by the way. Inkygirl is an online resource for writers who work from home.
Have a good writing week, everyone!
In my last column, I asked how the rest of you found creative inspiration. Some of your responses:
"...Generally I go between reading something, playing games, or just switching projects for a while. Simply mixing things up usually does the trick for me. Failing that, I grab my girlfriends and harass them with brainstorming for a while. They always seem to come up with ideas that don’t work, but usually tips me into finding something that does."
"Definitely exercise. That really gets me motivated, especially if I’ve hit a wall in my writing. I pull on my shoes and head out the door. More often than not when I sit back at the computer 20 minutes later, I can do my Rambo thing on the wall, keep going, and clean the mess up later. (I think it’s ‘cause of all the blood rushing to my head
Also a fan of the journal, but I use mine just as a daily diary– what’s been happening in my life and thoughts about that, etcetera. It’s only on occasion that I’ll write story lines. But either way, I find the non-editing extremely freeing (if a little embarassing on the re-read!)"
"Inspiration – I found this book really helpful: “http://writingfast.com/
I do mind-mapping to get inspiration - I have a big drawing pad that is covered in related words and freewriting. I also use photography books as a kick start.
From Clair Ching:
"After writing my reflections on my journal, I get inspired to write poems and stories again. Although I haven’t finished much since I started going into more web content development work.
Aside from that, listening to good music and having conversations with my closest friends inspire me to write some more. :-)"
"Exercise is a great way to jog a few brain cells around. And you’re right: it’s the perfect time to listen to yourself think. Before you know it, you’ve come up with some great ideas you wouldn’t have had if you sat hopelessly in front of your computer. :-) I personally prefer writing everything in a notebook first before launching into any writing job. Ideas seem to flow much more easily that way. And when I need to start typing it all up, I look at what I’ve written and get even MORE ideas from that."
Back from Italy! You can see my report starting here. I opted not to bring my laptop on the trip but kept up my writing journal.
I started my writing journal after reading Julia Cameron's The Right To Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life. I found this book incredibly inspirational, as I did Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down The Bones and Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird : Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Whenever I'm feeling unmotivated and restless in terms of my writing, I reread one of these books and always feel re-energized.
Keeping a writing journal also keeps me from getting in a rut. My current writing journal is a medium-sized Moleskine. It has more space to write than the pocket-size but is more convenient to carry around than the full-size Moleskines. I'm a huge Moleskine fan, if you haven't already guessed. :-)
Anyway, I try to write at least one page a day. Writing manually rather than typing is more laborious, but it gives me the freedom to take my notebook everywhere. It also discourages me from trying to do too much self-editing as I write. I allow myself to scribble out whatever I'd like, of course, but mostly I force myself to keep writing. ANYTHING, even if it's stream-of-consciousness babbling. Sometimes I end up with nonsensical fragments, bits of potential poetry. Other times I write snatches of dialogue, or character descriptions, perhaps a scene from a non-existent story or novel. The important thing is to commit something to paper.
This felt really awkward at first, but over time it's become easier and easier. And every once in a while, I write something I actually like and want to use.
Another activity I find that helps: exercise. I almost always feel re-energized after a good workout. Also when I'm out walking or running, I'll sometimes purposely leave the iPod behind and not listen to anything but my inner thoughts. This especially helps if I've reached a tough spot in my writing; I've found that getting AWAY from the keyboard is sometimes the best thing.
A survey: How do YOU get re-energized creatively? What books or activities help you, for instance?