Call me crazy, but I’ve grown quite fond of querying. Gone are the days I was terrified of coming up with something the editor would laugh at (not in a good way).
Sure, I still get a bit of an adrenalin rush before I hit send and wait for the reply, but I’ve become a lot more apt and confident at querying.
A lot of writers will advise you to do whatever you can to eliminate the process, and they have a good point: It’s not very practical (or lucrative) to depend on making your entire living out of the yeses you get out of your queries. Because there will be lots of rejections and no responses, especially in the beginning. And they never completely go away. So it makes sense to land ongoing gigs and clients so you’d not go through a feast or famine cycle.
But unless you become a famous writer with a ready and sealed 10-book deal (yes, I’m aware of how “often” that happens), you will need to query, a lot.
You’ll need to query editors, other clients, agents and publishers. So the better you get, the more you’ll write for your favorite publications.
A regular stream of good ideas (accepted through good queries) will help you establish a relationship with an editor – and that editor will tend to send assignments your way, directly or indirectly.
The more yeses you get, the more confident you’ll feel and the more comfortable you’ll feel sending out more queries.
But don’t feel discouraged when you get rejected. Study, practice and improve. And if you still shudder at the thought of writing more queries, below are some wonderful resources that I’ve compiled: 7 Great Query Letter Resources: A List of (E-)Books, Articles and Blog Links.
OK, now that we’ve gotten that sorted out, let’s get to the reasons:
1) It’s good practice on being concise and interesting. You’ve limited space, and what you say and how you say it are extremely important.
2) This practice will make you a better writer, and it is what you do. You write. Novels, screenplays, articles, essays, posts, newsletters…
Whatever you write, you want to be read, liked, shared, published, taken action upon. And you’ll always have limited space and time to get your target audience’s attention.
3) The more you are read and sold, the more you make. So queries do help you on getting the writing career you’ve always wanted. And yes, you’ll need to query agents and publishers too.
4) It makes your skin grow thicker –which is one of the essentials of being a healthy, happy and earning freelance writer.
5) It makes you more confident, especially after you have gotten your first acceptance(s).
6) It’s fun. The more ideas you sell, the more you want to brainstorm.
7) You do end up earning more, and querying less (if you want.)
So how do you feel about querying?