Thursday, February 19, 2009

Small things

Today I was reading an article by Susan Johnson in Hope Clark's Funds for Writers. Ms. Johnson was discussing the things a writer needs to do before sending off a query. Of course she mentioned all the standard things such as checking your market and proofreading your query, but, she also mentioned one small thing that I had never considered. A small thing which I'm sure if we all did it would save some of us embarrassment at one time or another.

Her suggestion was to add the editor's email address last. One small thing, yet this very act could save you from sending the wrong information to the wrong editor. If you, like me, sometimes send multiple queries on the same subject, these queries do need to be tailored and tweaked before sending. I am guilty, I have to admit, of sometimes hitting that send button way too soon. I can clearly recall one incident where I included the words "this would fit nicely with your January theme of...." Unfortunately, when I sent this same query to second editor of a similar magazine, I hit the send button without deleting that crucial sentence. Ooops. Needless to say, when the second editor read my query, she probably thought "amateur." I don't need to tell you, I've never heard back from the second editor.

Had I not already had the editor's address in the "to" section of the email, I might have taken the extra minutes to look over my email one last time. That second glance would have alerted me to my error. Just one small thing, yet it may have made the difference between making a new contact and turning one away.

As you get ready to send your queries, take a moment and re-read what you plan to send. Leave off that editor's address until you are sure you have done all you can to make your query the best it can be. Then, and only then, enter the editor's email address and hit send.

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