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Craft the Perfect Query

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Fitness industry experts often suggest diversifying revenue streams and services to maintain career longevity and make more money. One way to achieve these goals is to get published.

Having your work published can also help to elevate your status in the industry and your community. But it takes more than a good idea to attract the attention of your local news outlet’s editor. The all-important query letter—the letter that introduces your article idea and explains why you’re the person best suited to write it—can make or break your chances of having your material accepted. Here are tips from Amanda Vogel, MA, owner of Active Voice and author of How to Write Winning Queries: Get Your Articles Published for Profit and Promotion as a Health/Fitness Writer and Expert (available from www.activevoice.ca/store_querywork.shtml) on crafting the perfect query letter.

  • Find out the editor’s name, then address the query directly to that person instead of using the more generic (and lazy) “Dear Editor.” People—editors included—are more likely to begin reading an email when it’s addressed to them by name. Don’t forget to check the spelling of the editor’s name.
  • If you want to write for a magazine that you haven’t contributed to before, begin the query letter with a few lines or a short paragraph that could double as the lead for the article you’re proposing. This allows the editor to get a feel for your writing style, and it shows that you understand the “voice” of the publication.
  • Provide a bit of detail about the article you have in mind. This helps the editor understand the elements you will include in the story. A vague pitch will prevent the editor from seeing how the piece will unfold.
  • Know the difference between a broad topic and a focused idea. A broad topic is “lower-body strength training.” A focused idea is “breakthroughs on training the legs and glutes for winter sports.”
  • If you don’t receive a reply within 3–4 weeks, follow up with the editor. To learn more about IDEA’s query process, visit www.ideafit.com/author-guidelines.
Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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