Review by Patricia Fry
This could be the best book I’ve ever read on the subject of freelance writing and query letters. For a relative newcomer in this field, Mridu Khullar has incredible insight into the world of freelance writing. Not only has she developed unusual savvy and wisdom, she has a delightful way of sharing and teaching.
She starts out by saying, "So you’ve decided to take the plunge into magazine writing and are ready to give up your pantyhose and makeup for sweatpants and dark circles." And she doesn’t mind sharing some of her own secrets. For example, "At the beginning of my writing career, I was particularly miffed by writers who’d say, ‘Write what you know.’ I was a teenager still in college, hating my Information Technology curriculum, juggling two jobs and not having a clue as to where my life was heading. I was pretty darn sure I didn’t know anything.’"
Mridu has taken the rules and bent them a little—and it’s working! She is now a full-time freelance writer and editor who has written hundreds of articles for magazines and online publications.
Most people will buy this 130-page e-book to learn how to write the dreaded query letter, but you’ll also find it extremely useful in your quest to establish a freelance business. This isn’t just another how-to book. While reading it, you feel as though Mridu is walking beside you every step of the way. She shares provocative scenarios and gives lots of examples. She even provides a chart to help you expand your article ideas and increase your income. She takes the topic of cell phones, for example. How many different markets could you reach with this topic? She suggests an article called "Romance Your Mobile" for a women’s magazine. How about "What’s Your SMS Personality" for the teen market? You might try an article called "Are Cell Phone Cameras a Security Threat?" for a business magazine. And what about a piece for a personal finance magazine called "Best Cell Phone Buys of the Season"?
Mridu has a different take on the anatomy of a query letter. Her queries are getting noticed, so I would be inclined to heed her words. For example, she doesn’t necessarily believe in the one-page query letter. She says that when she looks back at her own successful query letters, "Some were long because I just had too much information crammed into my brain and I thought the editor might appreciate how much research I could do. In others, a couple of sentences did the trick." She advises readers, "Say what you want and then shut up. If you’re rambling on just to get to two pages, forget it. The padding will be visible. Similarly, don’t try to cram all of your information in a page. It shows and not in a good way."
She even gives writers a break when it comes to mistakes. She says, "Some mistakes are excusable—forgetting the ‘n’ in insomnia, or writing ‘there’ instead of ‘their.’ It’s those other mistakes that cause problems—like getting your facts muddled up."
There is just one thing I would criticize, and Mridu might have fixed this problem by now. The e-book does not have page numbers. This can create problems for those of us who print out our e-books.
If you are interested in writing for magazines, I highly recommend this e-book. Not only will you learn a lot—hey, I’ve been in this business for 30 years and I learned some new tricks—you will thoroughly enjoy the read.
–Patricia Fry, President of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network) http://www.spawn.org and author 16 books including "The Successful Writer’s Handbook." http://www.matilijapress.com