Novel Query Strategy Generates Additional Sales By John K. Borchardt

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Like many freelancers, I’ve seen my income drop sharply in the last couple of years. However, last summer I developed an effective recovery strategy to increase my article sales. My strategy is a variant of the tried and true technique of building on success by approaching an editor with a new article proposal after she has accepted one of your manuscripts for publication.

To build on my success with one editor, I now also contact editors at other magazines published by the same firm. I cite my original editor as a reference. It breaks the rules of query letters but I do this in my first paragraph. For example, I used the following to begin an e-mail query to the editor of Reinforced Plastics, an Elsevier publication:

Several very interesting papers are being presented at the American Chemical Society National Meeting 7-11 September. I could cover these papers and prepare a conference report to the word count you specify. I will be at the meeting covering industrial chemistry papers for your sister publication, The Alchemist. Editor Tina Walton can testify to my capabilities. I have written eight published conference reports for her over the last four years. In addition, she has published more than 200 of my feature and news articles on various chemical topics.

I went on to note that I would be attending the conference anyway so she would not have to pay travel expenses. Then I discussed why I thought some specific conference presentations would interest her readers. Finally I attached my bio to the e-mail.

The result? Since last September, Reinforced Plastics has published my conference review plus a feature article and I added $1,000 to my income. Flush with success, I used this approach with a third Elsevier editor. She has since published eight short articles of mine.

I have used the same approach with editors at Equal Opportunity Publications, Cass Recruitment Media and the American Chemical Society. All publish two or more magazines in addition to the ones I already write for. This strategy has resulted in an additional three articles accepted for publication so far. Overall, I’ve increased my income by more than $1,400. I now search routinely online looking for publishers who put out more than one magazine that I might write for.

John Borchardt has had more than 900 pieces published in various magazines, encyclopedias, newspapers, and online publications and as book chapters. He specializes in science, engineering, medicine, job hunting and career management. John is the author of the book Career Management for Scientists and Engineers published by Oxford University Press – USA and a Library of Science Alternate Selection. Borchardt received a BS degree in Chemistry from Illinois Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Rochester. The author of more than 120 peer-reviewed scientific and technical papers, he holds 30 U.S. and more than 80 international patents. He has invented fourteen commercial products used to recycle millions of tons of wastepaper and to recover millions of barrels of crude oil from old oil fields.