Approaching Editors And Publishers: It Can All Start With A Great Idea! By Dorit Sasson

For the last two years since I’ve been freelance writing, I’ve learned the traditional method of querying using a formal proposal or query was not incredibly successful. So six months ago, I decided to try a different tactic. I started to query publishers with ideas. Because I am a relatively new writer for educational book companies, I needed to find a way to get my foot quickly in the door.

What I Did

Using the query formula from Nancy Sanders book Yes! You Can Build a Successful Writing Career, I started by proposing ideas. The email said, “Hello! I notice that you publish a series called ‘x.'” Editors love it when writers do their homework. (If you are proposing a series, make sure you are proposing an idea that fits into their line.)

Then I went on to propose three to five new ideas for a new series – all in bullet format. To my surprise, one editor emailed right away saying she wanted to see the proposal for one of my new ideas. Another editor said he was looking for new series ideas. So, using the same formula, I proposed five new ideas for potential series and he expressed interest in three of those five new book ideas!

I have also used this query formula for proposing article ideas for online and print magazines. Now I know that publishers want to find good book ideas and the writers who generate them, so there is every chance that a well crafted query letter could lead to a request to see more and, ultimately, a book contract. This tactic isn’t of course, a sure way to get published but it definitely has opened doors in a world that often seems closed to new writers.

Dorit Sasson, otherwise known as the Teachers’ Diversity Coach, writes on a variety of educational topics as well as nonfiction and fiction for many different markets. Her work has appeared in the Literary Traveler, Reading Today and Adjunct Nation. She also works as a workshop presenter and coach, and teaches ESL courses at Duquesne University and Community College of Allegheny County. Dorit is currently looking for a publisher for her book on teaching English language learners.

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