Secure Interview Before Query or Vice-Versa?

Dear Angela–

I have been reading for a few years and always look forward to finding it in my in-box.

Here is my dilemma:

I have several ideas for interviews and the magazines they would be great for. However, I don’t know the potential interviewees personally, so should I ask for an interview before I have an actual assignment, and take the chance that I won’t get the job? Or should I query the magazines first, and take a chance that I won’t get the interview?

I’m not sure how to go about this. Please help?



This is actually a very common question.

If you’re planning to mention an interview to an editor in a query letter, it’s a good idea to secure that future interview before querying. Simply approach the potential interviewee and tell they you’re contacting XYZ Magazine about a story and you’d like to be able to interview them if the magazine decides to buy the story. This avoids wasting your time or theirs while accomplishing your goal of securing an interview commitment if the query is a success.