The Renegade Writer’s Query Letters That Rock:
The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Selling More Work Faster
By Diana Burrell and Linda Formichelli
Marion Street Press, Inc.
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Review by Patricia L. Fry
Query Letters That Rock is a brand new book scheduled for publication November 1. I am among the first to review this book and you are among the first to read a review.
Here’s the scoop: Authors Diana Burrell and Linda Formichelli are seasoned article-writing pros. Together, they penned the book The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success, which is in its second printing. These women seem to enjoy bending rules and dispelling long-held beliefs. And why not, when it works for them?
What are some of the rules they commonly break and that they encourage their readers to break? They write query letters up to three pages long. They sometimes bypass the formality of a detailed query letter or a proposal and just "dash off a quick note" to an editor. And they send query letters via e-mail even when the submission guidelines say not to. According to these authors, some editors don’t even know what their submission guidelines say.
If the idea of writing a query letter still intimidates you, you’re going to love this book. It includes 25 actual query letters that rocked a variety of editors. These queries were addressed to the editors of such magazines as AARP: The Magazine, Writer’s Digest, Entrepreneur, Smithsonian, Parenting and USA Weekend. And here’s what gives this book a hands-on quality. Each query is accompanied by comments from the writer and the editor.
Here’s a comment from Eric Lucas, former managing editor of Midwest Airlines with regard to Jeannette Hurt’s query letter: "This query is a perfect example of the saying that ‘luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.’ Jeannette’s query was concise, to the point, and it met a need that I had."
Karen Axelton, Executive Editor of Entrepreneur Magazine said this about Dalia Fahmy’s query, "I liked that this query started off like an actual article. It catches my attention—if I read this lead in a magazine, I’d keep reading. Many writers start off talking about themselves, instead of starting with the story."
As you know, I can be pretty darn critical about the books I review. But I have to say that I really like this one. It lives way beyond the promise in the title. It answers the questions we all have about query letters and how editors are currently responding. And it gives excellent examples. This book, Query Letters That Rock should be in the hands of every freelance writer who is still unsure about the query letter process. This book is like an extensive query letter workshop in paperback.