The list below is based on actual emails I’ve received from freelance writers.
1. Send a freelance writing publication an article on ending world hunger (or any other subject that isn’t even remotely related to a publication’s coverage). When writers send me these types of queries, it tells me they didn’t study our publication at all. So, I delete their emails. If they can’t be bothered to even read the name of our publication (“WritersWeekly”), I can’t be bothered to respond to their email.
2. Send an entire article on spec as an attachment, with no text in the body of the email at all. Editors assume this is spam, or that the email may have a virus. Those submissions usually get automatically deleted.
3. Send any email attachment at all without first receiving an assignment and a contract. Always send queries in the body of an email unless you’ve obtained prior permission to send attachments. Some publications have online forms for writers to use instead.
4. Have an online reputation for unprofessionalism, copyright infringement, or any other unpleasant or unethical activities.
5. Send a query on a topic that has already been done-to-death in every industry publication. If you are new to freelance writing, you can bet that most of your initial ideas have already been over-done. Google your proposed article idea to see how popular it already is.
6. Send an entire article to the editor, with byline, etc., but with no introduction or note about submitting on spec. (Editors think writers who do this are trying to trick them into thinking the article was assigned by another publication employee.)
7. Pretend that English is your first language, that you’re a professional journalist, and that you write for several English publications, and then send a query letter laden with grammatical and punctuation errors before having an English friend check your work. To see what I’m referring to, read any installment of World’s Worst Book Proposals And Query Letters!
If you can’t submit a query for an English-language publication using proper English, the editor isn’t going to trust you to submit an entire article with no errors.
8. Ignore a publication’s writer’s guidelines and, instead, email the editor to ask what they want from writers.
9. Accept an assignment, and then demand a cashier’s check or money order as payment.
10. Accept an assignment, and then demand the payment be sent overnight.
11. Accept an assignment from outside the U.S., but refuse to accept a check from the United States. (Not all firms use PayPal!)
12. Ask any editor to explain standard industry terms to you, like “byline” or “publishing credits.” Read a few books and know the lingo before sending out query letters. And, if you are stumped, don’t embarrass yourself by asking the editor for an explanation. Using Google (or your favorite search engine) is far faster anyway.
13. Demand the right to approve the edited article before it goes to print.
Have anything to add to the above? We’d love to see it! Contact Angela HERE.
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the author of 19 books, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).
Angela lives on a 52' Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch (sailboat) with her family and pets. Keep up with her family's adventurous liveaboard lifestyle at GotNoTanLines.com
WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.
BookLocker.com - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."
Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.
PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!
Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.
Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)
See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.
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BOOKLOCKER ON FACEBOOK - Provides links to free excerpts!
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Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!
Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE