Is Soliciting Freelance Work via Email Considered Spam?

Is Soliciting Freelance Work via Email Considered Spam?

Hi Angela,

While reading your latest newsletter an interesting question came to mind. I’m a cartoonist and often send query letters to publications I read about, asking if they use cartoons or illustrations. I’m sure most writers similarly send query letters to publishers about ideas they have for a book or article. Now many of us send these queries by email. My question is this:

Where does one draw the line between spam (unsolicited emails) and queries? Is it possible that if you sent a publication an email query they might report you for spamming and cause some problems for you? Obviously we don’t have publishers opt-in for query letters, or is that implied by the fact that they are in the business they are and publish submission guidelines?


The publications you’re contacting do typically hire writers/photographers/illustrators so approaching them for work is no different than sending your resume to a company that is hiring, or that may be hiring in the future.

I’ve never heard of a magazine reporting a writer/photograph/illustrator for spamming based on a query or submission of their resume. Approaching publications via email for possible work is a perfectly acceptable means of communication these days. In fact, many writers won’t approach magazines that don’t accept emails from writers. So many do now that the ones that don’t are often considered a waste of time by writers.