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What are the biggest top 10 marketing industries in the world?

These Are the World’s 10 Largest Market Research CompaniesNielsen remains comfortably the largest market research company in the world, with revenues exceeding $6.3 billion last year, per the 2017 AMA Gold Global Top 25 Report [pdf]. While it counts the UK as its home country, virtually all (96.9%) of its revenues are generated outside of the UK.In fact, the US accounts for more than half of Nielsen’s global revenues. Research released earlier this year [pdf] by the AMA revealed that Nielsen’s US revenues totaled more than $3.6 billion, or around 57% of its global revenues.Next on the list of the largest companies globally is Kantar, which generated roughly $3.85 billion in revenues last year. To put Nielsen’s size in context, Kantar’s global revenues were only slightly more than Nielsen’s US total.Like Nielsen, Kantar’s home country is the UK, though it does the bulk of its business (80.8%) outside of the UK. Kantar is third on the list of US research companies, though, sitting behind QuintilesIMS, a healthcare-focused company.QuintilesIMS – formed through a merger last year of Quintiles and IMS Health – is a US-based company. It ranks third globally ($3.3 billion), actually deriving the majority (59%) of its revenues outside the US.Its followed in the global rankings by Ipsos (#4; $1.96 billion) and GfK (#5; $1.68 billion). Those companies sit 5th and 7th, respectively, on the list of top firms by US revenues.Rounding out the top 10 globally are:IRI (US): $1.027 billion;Westat (US): $511.5 million;Wood MacKenzie (UK): $442.8 million;INTAGE Holdings Inc. (Japan): $441.6 million; andDunnhumby (UK): $429 million.It’s worth noting that the list does not include comScore (#10 on the list last year), for which financial statements were not available. It also excludes Rentrak, which merged with comScore early last year, and J.D. Power, which did not disclose its financial information. The AMA notes that these companies together represent upwards of $750 million in annual revenues.Fastest-Growing CompaniesThere were few major moves within the top 25, with no company improving by more than 3 spots this year. New additions included BVA (#16), Mintel (#18), and NRC Health (#23).Some companies enjoyed faster growth rates than others, though.Among the top 10, #8 Wood MacKenzie sported the highest growth, of 21.4%, followed by #9 INTAGE, which grew by 17.5%.QuintilesIMS – the third-largest company – experienced double-digit growth of 13%, while Nielsen and Kantar had more modest rises (2.2% and 3.7%, respectively).Among the top 25, all but 7 grew revenues last year, with none declining by more than 3.1%. The aggregate growth rate for the top 25 global market research companies was 4.6% (3.3% when adjusted for inflation), to $22.5 billion.US CMOs Put the Brakes on Marketing Research Spending?Separately, the latest iteration of The CMO Survey indicates that US CMOs will increase their spending on marketing research and intelligence by 3.4% over the next year.While that’s a solid level of planned growth, it’s down from the 5.3% forecast earlier this year by CMOs.In this latest survey, expected growth in marketing research and intelligence investments were highest for:B2B Services companies (4.9%) and B2B Product companies (4.6%); as well asCompanies in the CPG (6.8%) and Banking/Finance/Insurance (6.6%) sectors.Made in America: Still ThrivingDim views of American government don’t seem to be spilling over into negative perceptions of American products, finds new research[download page] from J. Walter Thompson Intelligence. In each of 6 countries analyzed, American brand products are viewed more positively than the government, with this particularly the case in Mexico and Russia.More than three-quarters of survey respondents in each country rated America’s brand products positively, ranging from a high of 93% in China to a low of 78% in the UK. By contrast, positive ratings of the US government maxed out at 78% in India, while bottoming out at 25% in Mexico.In fact, roughly three-quarters or more respondents in each country said they like American brands more than they like the American government.Opinions About American BrandsAmerica’s cultural influence around the world has translated into a perception of American brands as being cool, a view held by a majority of respondents in each country, most notably in India (87%) and China (81%).Most survey respondents likewise say that their opinion of American brands is as strong as ever, although a majority in most countries also say that American brands aren’t what they used to be.There’s a healthy perception of quality associated with American brands, although that doesn’t extend across the pond. A majority of adults in most countries agree that American brands are usually the best quality – including 85% in India – but only half as many in the UK (42%) agree.American brands appeal most to adults in China and India: a majority of respondents in those countries prefer to buy American brands over local brands (59% and 70%, respectively) and will always choose an American brand over one from another country if the price is reasonable (77% and 83%, respectively).The Most American Brands?McDonald’s, Apple and Microsoft are the brands most commonly believed to be American by respondents across the 6 countries: the US; UK; Mexico; Russia; India; and China.Interestingly, only one-third associate Budweiser with being American.Separate research from Brand Keys indicates that American consumers believe that Jeep is the brand most closely associated with “patriotism”.Why Consumers Love BrandsThe attribute that consumers across these 6 countries are most likely to assign to brands they love is trustworthiness, per the report. That’s closely followed by having used the brand for a long time. These two can be linked: recent study results indicated that 8 in 10 Americans are more likely to trust legacy brands.Meanwhile, as one might expect, consumers tend to also favor brands that provide high quality products or services.These results are generally in line with research from Havas Worldwide, which has found product quality, along with authenticity, to be among the most important core values for brands to embody.The full study is available for download here.About the Data The results are based on a survey of 3,000 respondents, 500 each from China, India, Mexico, Russia, the UK and the US.Business Credibility: Who Should Do The Talking?Companies around the world are facing an “authenticity gap,” argues FleishmanHillard Global Intelligence in a recent report [pdf], as they fail to meet customer expectations in key areas that drive authenticity, such as value and customer care. Trouble is, companies are considered the least credible when they’re talking about those particular areas.The CEO or the Employee?Almost 80% of the 5,500 consumers surveyed across 5 countries (including 84% in the US) agree that the behaviors and integrity of the CEO reflect the behaviors and integrity of the company the CEO leads.That makes the CEO an important barometer of company authenticity, but not its most credible source.Instead, the employee is most trusted.When sorting facts from fiction about a company (sometimes quite the task in the fake news era), 3 times more respondents to the survey said they find company employees credible than the companies’ leaders.The only people trusted more than employees? Knowledgeable friends, family and colleagues.These results bring to mind previous research released this year by Edelman, in which just 37% of general population respondents around the world said they find CEOs to be credible, an all-time low. That study also found peers and employees more trusted than senior executives and CEOs.Employee advocacy programs – which have been getting marketing leaders’ attention in recent times – make a lot of sense in this light…Does the Channel Matter?The survey was fielded among “engaged consumers” – people who had recently taken actions such as searching for information about a company’s products or services, sharing information about companies, signed a petition, or other such activities. These people are more likely to shape expectations about a company.Mainstream media channels tend to be more credible than social media for these “influencers.” The US has one of the highest rates of credibility assigned to social media, though – putting it on par with mainstream media channels. Then again, that’s not a huge prize, given the historically low level of trust displayed in the US mass media. Yet it does suggest that employee advocacy programs designed to use social media as a channel can have an impact in the US.Customers: Take Care of Me First… But Don’t Forget About SocietyFleishmanHillard determines in its report that about half (51%) of perceptions about companies are shaped by the 3 (of 9) authenticity drivers that are customer-focused.It’s therefore critically important that companies: offer (or appear to offer) products and services that are better value; take better care of customers; and innovate new and better products and services.The marketer has an expanding role in these areas, particularly the customer experience and innovation.Societal outcomes are also important in driving beliefs about companies, though: people want to know that companies are taking better care of employees and the environment, and having an impact on communities. These are also key contributors to trust in companies, and are linked to perceptions of value. Indeed, more than 8 in 10 expect companies to be more transparent about the source of materials and manufacturing of their products, because they consider that to be part of the value of what they’re buying.As for caring for employees – that’s not just about pay and perks. Some 81% feel that it’s also about how the company behaves on issues regarding inclusiveness and equality. Those happen to be issues that Americans actually want CEOs to speak about.Data Points to PonderHere are a few more intriguing data points from the study.About 6 in 10 consumers believe that companies are not taking data security threats seriously and are not investing enough in their IT to protect against breaches. This frustration can turn into boycotts, according to recent research.At the same time, consumers can be forgiving in some areas: a majority (55%) expect innovative companies to make product or service mistakes because they are inventing something completely new.Almost three-quarters expect companies to go beyond mandated regulations and actively work to solve societal issues.Some 63% feel that when a government creates policies that support isolationism, global companies should take a lead in driving the interchange of ideas, products, and culture.The full study is available.About the Data: The data is based on a study of almost 300 companies across more than 25 industries, conducted with almost 5,500 consumers in 5 countries (the US, Germany, China, UK and Canada). Full methodological details are available in the report.People Complain of Gender Stereotyping and Lack of Diversity on TVDespite some progress, TV isn’t doing a good enough job of promoting inclusiveness and gender equality, according new studies from Havas Group and Univision. Almost half of women from various countries around the world agree that TV ads show too many outdated gender stereotypes, per Havas’ report [download page].A similar proportion (49%) likewise resent the way women are depicted in a lot of advertising.Men hold similar attitudes, though not quite as strongly, according to the survey of 12,168 adults across 32 markets. Some 44% feel that TV ads are outdated in their use of gender stereotypes, and close to 4 in 10 resent the way that women are depicted in a lot of advertising.This is not strictly a female issue, as almost one-third (31%) of both men and women surveyed also resent the way men are depicted in a lot of advertising.Still, attitudes seem to affect women more when it comes to “voyeuristic” advertising: 38% of men agreed that they enjoy watching advertising that shows semi-naked women, compared to just 17% of women who enjoy watching ads with scantily-clad men.Around 1 in 10 respondents enjoy seeing ads that show scantily-ad people of their own gender.Outdated Gender Stereotypes?With almost half of adults around the world agreeing that TV ads show outdated gender stereotypes, it’s important to look at some of the attitudes people hold towards gender.The following are some highlights concerning gender roles from Havas’ “The Future is FeMale” survey:Some 52% of women and 44% of men do not believe in set genders, feeling instead that gender is fluid and everyone can be what they feel like;A majority (61%) of women feel that parents should raise their children in a gender-neutral way rather than raising them with traditionally gendered activities and clothing, though only a minority (46%) of men agree;Some 41% of respondents overall worry that boys are becoming less masculine, while 34% worry that girls are becoming less feminine;Almost half believe that a man who wears makeup is not masculine enough, though fewer (31%) feel that a man who devotes a lot of care to personal grooming is not masculine enough (see men’s growing influence in the beauty market);A majority of respondents feel that there are not enough women in executive positions today;Two-thirds wouldn’t have a preference for either a male or female boss, although twice as many would prefer a male (21%) to a female (11%) boss; andAlmost three-quarters of both men (73%) and women (72%) agree that being a successful parent is more important than having a successful career.For all the talk of gender fluidity, though, men and women tend to ascribe some fairly stereotypical characteristics to each other: most men think women are more nurturing and sensitive, while most women think men are more mechanical.Still, a majority feel that men and women are equally likely to be smart, hard-working, responsible, creative/innovative, intellectual, trustworthy and confident, among other characteristics.Those are encouraging signs, yet there seems to be a greater reluctance among men than women to acknowledge power imbalances. For example, while 56% of women feel that today women have rights but no real power, only 41% of men agree. And more than one-third of men (35%) believe that gender inequality no longer exists, compared to roughly one-quarter of women (26%).Many more attitudes towards gender are explored in the report, which is available for download here.Stereotypes in AdsSeparately, research from J. Walter Thompson New York and The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media (reported hereby AdWeek) indicate that men are 4 times as likely than women to have a presence in ads and have 7 times the speaking time.Stereotypes in ads? Try these figures:In an analysis of ads released this year, men portrayed in commercials are twice as likely as women to have a job, widening a gap seen in ads from 2006-2016;Men are almost twice as likely as women to be shown as smart, up from a 62% greater likelihood during the 2006-2016 period; andIn an analysis of ads released from 2006-2016, women were almost 50% more likely than men to be shown in the kitchen.TV Needs to be More Racially InclusiveTV isn’t only failing when it comes to gender equality.Research from Nielsen indicates that broadcast TV ad spending focused on Black audiences has been surging of late, with the primary attributable reason being an increased diversity of programming on broadcast networks featuring mostly Black casts and/or leading actors. But while there may be more shows featuring Black casts, that doesn’t necessarily mean progress has been made across the board.In a new survey, Univision asked more than 2,000 US film and TV consumers ages 18-49 (including oversamples for Hispanics, Blacks and Asians) about the “one thing” they would change about movies and TV today. The unaided responses showed that for 18-34-year-olds, “inclusive storytelling” was a top-5 concern.In fact, fewer than 4 in 10 respondents overall reported feeling good about how representative TV shows are today with both plot and casting, though about half are positive about the progress programming has made.The biggest issue that needs to be addressed? Racial stereotypes / tropes / typecasting, according to 40% of the survey’s respondents.Considering that almost 40% of the US population belongs to a racial or ethnic group other than non-Hispanic white – including almost half of all Americans under age 18 – TV content creators and advertisers will need to improve in order to appeal to diverse groups moving forward.Millennial W-O-M Rankings: Facebook > SnapchatYouth are turning away from Facebook and to Snapchat, as the theory goes (accompanied by some data). And that might well be true for teens and young Millennials, but apparently Facebook isn’t uncool enough to avoid talking about. New data from YouGov shows that Facebook is easily the best perceived brand among Millennials. Go figure.The research first tested 1,500 brands, asking Millennials which they had heard anything positive about in the prior 2 weeks, whether through advertising, news or word-of-mouth. Low-volume responses were eliminated, and then survey participants were asked which of the remaining brands they had talked about with friends and family in the past 2 weeks (in-person, online or through social media).Facebook topped the pack with an impressive 83.5% of 18-34-year-olds who’d heard something positive about the brand then having talked about it with friends and family.Facebook was one of the three social networks in the top 10: YouTube came in sixth (69.3%), closely followed by Snapchat (69%). Instagram keeps a low profile, it seems, not appearing in the top 10 despite being a social networking favorite.Other notable names in the top 10 include Netflix (#2; 75.8%) and Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & more (#8; 68.7%).Previous research from YouGov BrandIndex has shown that Netflix (#1), Amazon (#2) and Facebook (#6) have all been among the brands that Millennials hear the most positive things about. This newest data suggests, then, that it’s Facebook that’s the most likely to turn that into new word-of-mouth among the 18-34 group.Most Improved BrandsRetailer Lane Bryant is getting more buzz from Millennials, according to the report: this year 45.2% report having talked about the retailer, a 14.3% point increase from last year’s (30.9%). It’s among a few retail brands included, which has to be encouraging for the industry: beyond Victoria’s Secret being #5 on the top-perceived brands list, Payless and Forever 21 also figured among the most-improved brands.Millennials are also sharing their opinions more this year about CheapTickets (+13% points to 46.8%), Beats by Dr. Dre (+11.3% points to 47.3%) and Redbox (+11.3% points to 55.2%), among others.

What's a good current account bank for a London-based technology startup?

Refusal is common but could be good.Do you need a business name on the account? - maybe not.I run an online shop selling nonleather footwear with a separate but personal-name account. My personal account is at another bank, so there's no need to trouble one bank with a request for two similar but separate accounts. Separate bank accounts are required by common sense and minimum legal standards of tax reporting. I've never found banking a problem. If you set-up a face-to-face stall, then cash payments might be a problem and cheap cash sorting machines make it easier to bag and pay-in. Metrobank offers use of their machines free.If you limit your liability with a registered company, it's more usual to have a company account. You want people to know what they are dealing-with and that liablity is limited, just as they do.A limited company called J Blogs Ltd (if that is your name - I don't know) might help make things look cool to everyone, if you are using an account called "J Blogs". Maybe the bank will pay in cheques to "J Blogs" without the "Ltd", or more likely nobody will ever send you a cheque.You might expect a law that the account must be in a company name because there's law about letters emails and faxes, but not the name of the bank account. People here seem to have researched the subject and think the same. They and the staff of Companies House are sure that any law would be in the Companies Act, which you'd want to look at if you set-up a company. I think there are more general laws about not decieving mentions some personal-name bank accounts. Halifax and TSB pay if you're in credit - a fixed amount at one or 5% at another. There's at least one that pays new customers who still have a regular income to sign-up. You should check the link which is more up-to-date, but I think there's 5% on the first thousand or two in a personal TSB account and £5 a month on a Halifax account if you pay-in so-many pounds a month, which is harder to organise if you need to pay money round-and-round in a circle to look rich.Business Account Finder - British Bankers Association is the link for comparing accounts in a business name. I think there are one or two free-forever ones. If your business is large enough to employ staff, it might benefit from the bundle of services including a Co-Op business bank account from Federation of Small Businesses, who have a minimum charge that rises with turnover. You have to ring them to find out the charge. This bunch called Business Banking Insight phoned to do a business banking user survey, which didn't quite fit reality because if you have an own-name account and don't use business banking services, it's hard to rate your business banking services out of ten. People who actively chose their business bank and use it tend to give high scores. Whores bank is top of the list.Do you need a business overdraft? No.You've read the news. You know the name Fred Goodwin. If you didn't work for him directly, selling dodgy banking products to avoid being sacked, you worked for him indirectly because your taxes bail-out his creations. Maybe you have dealt with firms that are crippled by dodgy banking products sold by the likes of Goodwin. Nobody needs the trouble of doing business with a UK has some better ideas for business borrowing. The one they like to promote is for established businesses on - not that it is a good one for lenders.I've read that and banks are un-typical if you really must get an overdraft, but working from home and spending nothing is a cheaper option.Better still, keep a part-time day job until some money comes-in. If the business is a good one, money will come-in to re-invest. Porridge oats are under a pound a kilo as are some well-known root vegetables. If your new-found business partners are not interested in splitting bulk packs of vegetables, maybe they are not good at business. If your business plan says "spend a million pounds mainly on advertising a brand so we can sell our £30 T shirts before the competition", ask yourself: wouldn't people prefer to buy from a company that's cheaper for lack of a million pound debt? And when tech-hub startups move to Shoreditch they just put-up property prices and discourage the shoe wholesalers and bag factories that still survive there. If you have to move there, maybe you should sell shoes and bags from the wholesalers and factories in Shoreditch alongside your tech startup. The wholesalers sell blingey Italian shoes along Shoreditch high street.This guide to buying looks a bit complicated but everyone has their own style; you have to do a lot of work finding a supplier, and find out what they want to make in terms of what designs they are used to churning-out on their machines, what their minimums are for free set-up or free delivery, and what's a typical lead time. There is a childrens-wear sewing factory in Bentley Road off Balls Pond Road for example. They have no web site and are had to track-down, but if you want the quantities and products the want to make, they'll probably work-out a price and save you importing a container-load from China with a 3-month lead time.Do you need funding for assets? There is a picture of an asset above. You can see that it has scrap value and a possibly higher value as a second-hand machine, minus transport costs and depending on the right market for sale at short notice. If value can be demonstrated with photos and links to sites where such machines are traded, there is a good case to make to people on a P2P funding site to finance your asset. Thinking of which, you should also buy your machines at the same places where your reciever would have to sell them. Otherwise you are asking lenders to fund a dealers' markup, which isn't something you can sell again if things go wrong.If your asset is something like "a new brand for increasing the price of T shirts", then it costs nothing to dream-up and might earn nothing if sold at short notice. This is why people tend to work in trades and professions and intellectual property; they hope to become self-employed without massive amounts of capital, by living on their wits; they should not need funding. There was a time when a brand like Clarks Shoes was worth more than expected and could be even more valuable if separated from expensive factories in the UK. That was a nieve time, and I hope that consumers are more savvy to the fact that the brand feels nice to wear because staff are paid a UK wage; another brand on a UK-made shoe should sell almost as well, while the famous brand on a Chinese shoe should sell much worse. I hope that's where the market is heading.Do you want help with book-keeping, to tag items on the bank statement into categories. Yes. Everyone needs these but banks don't provide them.Thanks for paying tax. You help pay for my government services.The bank statement is the most accurate and automated book-keeping aid for tax payers.Cash basis - GOV.UK suits small businessIf your turnover crosses the you have to doVAT record keepingYou need to download the bank statement each month (1507.xls as a file name for month seven in 2015 for example) and tag each line to a category before you forget what that mystery paypal payment was.Bank software often downloads bank statements in particular flavours of an un-documented format called .qif - Quicken Interchange Format - which is best avoided. Download a file in every other available format in case one such as .pdf or .csv has detail which another lacks.You also need one credit card per type of transaction paid with a credit card, such as one credit card for delivery costs and one for travel. Otherwise you need to account for each line of the credit card statements as well, and how they interact with the bank statement, which is fiddly work for no benefit. Look on moneysavingexpert for cashback visa and mastercards in personal names that might give you .5% cashback and up to one months' credit. These need have nothing to do with the business bank account except being set to withdraw the full balance from it each month by direct debit. If you try to include their statements in your accounting systems you'll discover gotchas to discourage business use, like the direct debit day being different from the statement day, but if you keep one card per type of transaction such as one for travel and one for postage, you don't need to worry so much about their statements.Barclays private accounts do allow some categorization on their online bank statements. Co-op / Smile are hard to download; you need to cut and paste or trust waveaps to do it for you. (see below)Talking of accounting, a free spreadsheet for keeping track of each line of account is useful.Different software and different accounts programs go together better or worse.Specialised ones will recognise regular transactions. Extra-good ones will track enough for you to do a VAT return, which I've never done. There are free ones for your hard disc here and there. I once tried Acemoney which is free for a single bank account and nicely designed for PC or Mac; programs like Quicken that I used for a few years were a pain with their closed-source file formats designed to keep you loyal and their "sunset policy" to try to force you to buy more of their software every-time the sun sets. Grisbi Gnucash & Turbocash were a bit compicated for what I needed, but entirely open source and free.A no-budget tech startup probably suits online accounts programs more. It's easier to share online accounts with an accountant if you need to pay for help, or with colleagues if you don't renting an office. Waveaps is one of the few free online accounts programs on the tech radar list to have kept going for a few years, and can scrape data from a large number of bank accounts. It states that it's working on systems to double-check data for errors caused by changes of format on online bank statements., the online service, is the free accounts software that I use. It likes to set-up accounts for money invoiced and not yet paid or recieved; you have to try to stop it doing that or things get complicated. It also helps if you have pretend customers like "paypal", and "merchant account", to save electronic accounting of those accounts, and to have pretend suppliers like "office stuff", rather than build-up a list of every stationary shop you've ever used your debit card at. VAT accounting might complicate things a bit.Lastly, Quickfile will automatically download statements from one or two of the major UK banks:Lloyds TSB Business BankingBarclaysNatwestHSBC Business BankingSantander Business BankingRoyal Bank of ScotlandThat list of banks is worth checking-out, because it saves you downloading and up-loading the data from your bank to quickfile each month. If you do, most banks and probably all business banks let you download the data manually, while more of them let you keep a copy via Waveaps. These are formats for uploading to quickfile:Excel (csv)Microsoft Money (ofx)Quickbooks (qbo)Quicken (qif)Text file (txt) - Santander only - Santander personal accounts provide thisMerchant accounts. A good start until you have some turnover is an outfit like Paypal. There is a new one for direct debits called which has one or two others working alongside for small commission between them. Whichever route you choose the charge to you is 1%Elavon Merchant Services now offers a web service with no need to hire a terminal. I don't know a site to publish prices given for card processing, but under 2% for credit cards is respectable, plus an amount for each transction, and usually plus £15 a month for a terminal. There's a growing market in smartphone payment systems from the likes of SumUp, but they all assume you want to pay more than 2%, often plus a monthly payment, which personally I do not want to do. I want to sell UK-made goods on a lowish margin, and pay a little tax. I do not want to sell Chinese goods on a huge margin and not care how much paypal take, if there's a choice.If you can get customers to pay by bank transfer, that's free to most accounts but don't advertise bank details if it's easy for people to set-up fraudulent direct debits. They appear on your account with plausible names like "£30 National Trust" or "£29.45 Virgin Media", and you have to contact your bank to cancel them straight away. Usually you get your money back.Currency conversion. The P2P outfits Transferwise or Currencyfair will do a better job than any bank. Good luckthe author sells vegan shoes online at , a UK online vegan shoe shop

What are some dos and don’TS of an effective query letter? Can you point me to some high caliber, sample query letters? Thank you in advance.

This is from How To Write What You Want & Sell What You Write, a book of mine originally published in 1992, with the last edition published in 2011 (where this chapter came from). So don’t knock it if some of it seems antiquated, because I’m giving you the whole chapter.Chapter Two: Who Cares Who Queries?Other than the quality of your text, the most potent tool in selling your writing is a simple introductory message. Whether you use standard mail, a fax, an email, a text message, or a tweet on Twitter, a query is a message sent to an editor about your manuscript or creative work. It is sent in advance of a full manuscript or script to ask if an editor, publisher, film or TV professional, Web publisher, literary agent or any other type of decision-maker will look at your work. A good query convinces the recipients of the potential worth of your writing and compels them to ask to read it. I never send something to anyone without knowing they’re willing to receive it; I almost without fail query first.Even if you produce the world’s greatest unpublished manuscript and send it along, you still need to include a message saying something about who you are, what you have to sell, where you can be found, and why you contacted that person in the first place. Who, what, where, why, and how; maybe you’ve heard the phrase before – it forms the basics of good journalism. Anything but those items is fluff, which makes some people impatient and prone to slam-dunking your work in the trash. The only other important element is if you can truthfully say you have been referred by someone your addressee knows and trusts.You can probably visit your local bookstore or library right now and find an entire book on writing a great query letter. This month’s issue of at least one writing magazine will probably feature an article about composing the world’s best query. None of this will change the simple fact that you will still be inquiring whether the person you contact has any need for what you’ve written and, if so, how much they’ll pay you for it (providing they pay). Note that I said the person you contact. The first secret to writing a query letter that will sell is to address it to a real person, not just a title. Who might that be? Do some homework. If you can’t get the information you need about a magazine in Writer’s Market or another reference book, study the magazine at the library or go to the local newsstand and buy a copy of your own. Most of the time, you can find the best contact in reference books. If you can’t, however, you can study the portion of a periodical known as the "masthead," that column of text on a page near the front which lists where the office of the publication is located, who publishes it, who works on it, how often it comes out, its circulation, etc. On a Website, look under “About Us” or the equivalent. If you see many names in the editorial department, chances are you shouldn’t waste your time writing the publisher or editor-in-chief. They’ll probably just give your letter and manuscript to a junior employee, so why waste their time and yours? A large magazine will have an articles editor, a fiction editor, etc. Smaller magazines or Websites may have only one person wearing all the "hats" and thus you could write directly to that person and get a reply. You know when print publications are small because they pay only in copies (and a few copies at that). Call me ambitious, but I’ve rarely sent my work to anything but paying publications. I adopted this attitude after I’d sold something. Before I was a paid (read: professional) writer, all I wanted were copies of my printed work, and I was thrilled to get them. After I was published, I sent my work to places that paid the most, first. If they rejected me, I’d move to the next one down the line in financially rewarding rank. I eschewed literary journals, which I’ve never thought mattered much to anyone except the people publishing them, and when I found out about the “publish or perish” necessity of college professors seeking tenure, I had an even lesser opinion of that type of publication. You may see this as mercenary logic, but I never met a writer who paid the mortgage writing for “prestigious” literary journals. I believe writers should not only be paid, but paid very well, because writing is the hardest work I’ve ever known.If You Got Your LetterI always advise my students to try and find a common ground with anyone they communicate with. That includes other writing students, readers certainly, and editors particularly. By common ground, I mean that you should try and find something you both know or can agree on. You build from that foundation for communication. You’ve experienced some form of this a thousand times, unless you’ve been living in a cave. "My fellow Americans," began President Lyndon Baines Johnson. "Friends, Romans, countrymen," said Marc Anthony."Four score and seven years ago," President Abraham Lincoln intoned solemnly, setting the scene for his famous speech at Gettysburg. "Don’t make me come in there with the belt!" comedian Bill Cosby’s father told his children when they wouldn’t go to sleep. You know, tell them something they’ll understand, something to show them you’re on the same track, before you tell them something new and harder to comprehend.I’d like you to switch seats now. Travel in your mind to a swank office, high in the lofty stratosphere of Manhattan publishing. You are a successful editor, and your office is filled with cutting-edge technological wonders. Decorated like something out of Architectural Digest, your work space is a source of great pride. You have half a floor of room, two secretaries, and hot and cold running drinks. Your lunch is catered and you get a weekly manicure, maybe even a pedicure. You knock off work at four o’clock, and that’s on a long day. It’s a short walk to your private elevator. Down below, your chauffeured limousine awaits, ready to sweep you off to yet another night of highly expensive dining and dancing. The hostess brightens on seeing your face, and immediately escorts you to the best table in the house.Sure, that’s what happens. Just like monkeys fly. Explode a little bomb under that mental scenario, because it’s a ridiculous pipe dream. Most editors I know are pleasant enough, but they are also harried. They never seem to have enough time, I never get the idea their office would win a “neatest place to work” prize, and I’m certain none of them jet to Bermuda every weekend for a nice little break. Most editors are hardworking people. They have stacks of things to read and few have secretaries. If they go out to lunch, it’s with an agent pitching a book. In other words, you don’t need to give them an excuse to use your manuscript to test the new shredding machine or spam filter because you start off your query telling them how your work is the best thing since sliced pumpernickel. Think about it. If that editor—the real one I’ve just described— was your significant other, your wife, husband, girlfriend, or boyfriend, what approach would you take to brighten their day? What if they were simply a good friend, or a new acquaintance you liked? Would you make sure to keep your workday communication with them short, bright, and to the point? Hopefully, you would. Would you throw in a bit of humor, to try and help them have a better day? If you wanted to build that relationship, you would. So why not see an editor as a real person, someone you might actually like to get to know one day? Believe me, if you sell them something, you will get to know them, maybe better than you initially imagine. You might end up on each other’s holiday card or email list, or something even more intimate.When you query, be friendly and cordial, but get to the point. Don’t waste time. As your writing success grows, you’ll be surprised at just how small a world it can be, in publishing and in our world at large. You’ll also see the true importance of first impressions. Getting to the point in brief but friendly fashion will help your chances of making that great first impression.A few years back, I added a cartoon to my personal stationery in the upper right-hand corner, a clever caricature done by John Caldwell of Mark Twain sitting at a desk looking perplexed. Several dialogue balloons hover over Twain’s head: "Strawberry Finn? Blueberry Finn? Cranberry Finn? Boysenberry Finn?" he wonders. I had dozens of editors comment on that cartoon when they got in touch. A publisher made a deal with me to print the cartoon on T-shirts and sweatshirts, with royalties going to both myself and John Caldwell (I bought and therefore owned the original cartoon). You might try something similar. Making ‘em laugh helps.Get your own personal stationery or make some up. In these days of inexpensive desktop publishing and word-processing programs, there’s really no excuse not to have it. While some editors feel it’s not necessary, if it’s simple and classy it might show an editor or publisher that you take your writing seriously and have invested some money in playing the game. If you use an email query, compose a signature no more than four lines long which says something about you, gives your address and phone number, or lists your Website, if you have one. If the signature is not too obtrusive, that’s a good thing.Some Samples to SampleSo what do you write in a query? Some examples of my own letters follow. As I review them with you, I’ll toss in comments (LIKE THIS) in the text to illustrate points. These points are NOT something you include in the text of your letter. In your letter, you should try to use as little in the way of bolding, ALL CAPS, justification, and other such fancy text elements as possible. My queries may not be the most perfect you’ll ever see, but they’ll get you started.A Query Letter That Didn’t WorkRandy Achee, PublisherDisney Adventures, W.D. Publications, Inc.500 South Buena Vista StreetTower Building, 29th FloorBurbank, CA 91521Dear Mr. Achee:I’m presently writing for Boys’ Life magazine and have some other freelance accounts. Boys’ Life has a four-month lead time and as a result it’s difficult juggling what will be of interest when the issue comes out. It occurred to me, after looking over your magazine, that I might do "double duty" with my interviews. What’s right for you might not be right for Boys’ Life’, etc.In your February 11th issue, you had a lengthy article on stunts, yet didn’t cover Kim Kahana, who has the most famous stuntman school going. Also, the writers got one thing wrong—there was trick photography when Harold Lloyd did "Safety Last." The clock Harold is hanging from was actually on a platform several feet above the roof of a building. If Harold had fallen, it would have only been a few feet. This isn’t widely known but better research would have revealed the truth (and copies of "how he did it" shots might have been nice). I try not to miss details like that, particularly when young "Bet I can do that" readers are at stake.I’m enclosing my resume for you to look over. I would enjoy writing about Hollywood for your magazine.Best,Skip PressWhy didn’t the above letter work? Like all my query letters (unless I had a justifiable excuse), this letter was one page. I always kept them short and to the point. As I said earlier, you shouldn’t send a query to the top dog in a big publication. In the example given, I forgot my own rules. I probably didn’t help myself by saying what was wrong with the article I had read, but that wasn’t why I got no response. When I did not hear from Mr. Achee, I followed up with a phone call. This is a perfectly acceptable practice, but I waited the time prescribed by the magazine ("replies in six weeks" or whatever). My phone call was at first fruitless, which intrigued me. I glibly assumed that my mention of writing for a competitor of Disney Adventures (their biggest competitor at the time) would get some attention, but it didn’t. I subsequently learned that Disney Adventures had a historically high personnel turnover rate. Achee was gone as publisher by the time I called. I persisted, and finally got through to Andy Ragan, a nice guy who was then associate editor. I explained everything to Andy. He was intrigued, and we hit it off. That started a relationship that resulted in sales of stories I originated as well as assignments from Andy. My query letter didn’t work, but my persistence did.Persist, persist, persist! From surveys of successful people in the entertainment business, I discovered that as a general rule it takes 15 years to gain national recognition. Writers without persistence are losers.A Query Letter That Did WorkMs. Tina Berke, EditorComputoredge (yes, that’s how they spell it)The Byte Buyer, Inc.Box 83086San Diego, CA 92138Dear Ms. Berke:I’m currently writing for three national magazines—Boys’ Life, Disney Adventures, and Grit. One upcoming assignment is an interview with and article on Stephen Spielberg. The current cover story (September) of Boys’ Life is mine (in case you know a Boy Scout who subscribes). I sold a screenplay recently and am working on another one that has been "optioned" by some producers.I recently wrote a computer business article (my second) and I’d like to do more. Your listing in Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market says you buy material helpful to first-time computer buyers. I may have something for you.An article I’m developing is called "Man over Motherboard," a chronicle of my experiences in buying our first computer and setting it up, which included three trips back to the shop. I’ve found my experiences are the norm. Here’s how it’s gone:I got ambitious. I wanted a fax/modem, so I bought the card and installed in personally. That’s one of the reasons I was back to the shop three times. Now, I can fax an article, no problem. Modem? If I get lucky.I also bought and installed a hand-held scanner, which enables me to scan photos and incorporate them into my articles. Of course, I haven’t used it once, and don’t know how.I have Windows, a screen-saver named After Dark, and a virus-checking program that hasn’t helped me one bit. I also have twenty-one separate manuals, none of which I’ve read all the way through. I’m not alone in this, as you probably know.A "friend" with ten years’ experience, knowing everything about "PCs" came over and "just put some simple things which will really help you" on my computer. This caused two of the trips back to the shop. He was amazed that I was reading my DOS manual. In his ten years, you see, he never read it.I can give your readers a few laughs, and some helpful tips. I’m perfectly willing to write my piece as fact, or fiction. My resume and a sample article are enclosed.Best,Skip PressI know what you’re thinking. Oh, right. Look at that first paragraph. If I could toot my horn like that, I could get an editor’s attention, too. What a braggart!Guess what? I could have left out that first paragraph entirely. It really didn’t matter. Factually, my opening paragraph probably hurt my chance of selling to that editor, rather than helped. Why would an editor of a magazine care if I’d sold a screenplay, unless they edited a magazine about the film business? What was right about the above letter, and what got me the job, was the second paragraph forward. My second paragraph showed the editor that I’d done my homework. I at least knew what her listing in Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market said. Actually, I’d written one of the two computer articles I mentioned for her magazine, ComputorEdge, but that was for another editor. Tina didn’t know me from blue beans when I first contacted her. Her magazine was the largest of its kind in the U. S. at the time, so she had her hands too full to keep up with everyone who had ever written for ComputorEdge. Therefore, I approached her as if both she and the magazine were brand new to me.Why didn’t I send her my old ComputorEdge clip? I didn’t want to run the risk of alienating her. When there’s a new editor, you see, writers are often up against a "new broom sweeps clean" mentality. Some editors want to show they can do a better job than anyone from the old regime. Thus, they use writers they know, or writers who contact them anew. (This mentality is epidemic in Hollywood, but that’s another chapter.)Back to the letter. All of the paragraphs after the second one got right to the point. They walk you through the content of the article, step by step. Any editor could see very clearly what my article was about, and decide on the spot whether or not it was worthy of assignment. If a decision from an editorial board was necessary, all the editor would have to do is copy my letter and distribute it.In the last paragraph, I put in a pitch for humor. Humor almost always works for editors, unless you want to write for Mortician’s Monthly (a nonexistent magazine, I think). Notice that I mentioned my resume and a sample article last. That way, the editor knew about the other pieces of paper I had enclosed. (Don’t assume they’ll figure it out without your direction. Try to make everything as crystal clear and easy to comprehend as possible.)I went on to write a biweekly business computing column for ComputorEdge, an assignment which began years after I wrote articles for editor Tina Berke. I came across an email post by a new editor, John San Filippo, and got in touch with him, using the same procedure all over again. He had no knowledge of my old articles, but my query worked.You may be thinking this is all well and good, easy for me to say. I was already successful when I wrote the letters above, and had a resume to prove it. And since those query letters were written in the early 1990s, what about the 21st century? I’ll get to that, but bear with me, there’s something to be learned with regard to an approach that will work. Here’s some samples of the type of letter I wrote in the beginning of my career.A Sample Query Letter If You Haven’t Previously PublishedMs. Baleful GlanceEditorLocal Magazine123 Main StreetYour Town, USA 12345Dear Ms. Glance:I’ve been following your magazine for several months now...(DO YOUR HOMEWORK, STUDY THE MAGAZINE, AND DON’T LIE.)... and I’ve noticed that you seem to have a fondness for articles about hog-calling techniques and other aspects of country living.(WOW, SHE’LL SAY, A WRITER WHO’S ACTUALLY DONE SOME HOMEWORK.)That’s why I thought you’d be interested in my enclosed article, "Peccary Persuasion Along the Orinoco." I was marooned in the Amazon Jungle after a failed love affair, and I found solace among a lost tribe, the Heybuddies, who are the best callers of wild pigs in the known world.(YOU’VE GOT HER, BECAUSE SHE’S PROBABLY NEVER HEARD OF THE HEYBUDDIES, AND NEITHER HAS ANYONE ELSE.)For example, as a passage into manhood, a Heybuddy male of the age of twelve is led into the jungle by an elder, then abandoned. The young man must then squeal like a pig at the top of his lungs until he either: (1) is eaten by a python or some other animal; or (2) attracts a wild peccary suitable for eating. He is, I should mention, given a week’s instruction in peccary persuasion before being led off into the jungle.My article describes the entire rite in a manner I feel would fascinate your readers. I’ve noticed that your letters to the editor tend to be most vocal when commenting on youthful topics.(YOU GIVE HER A TASTE OF YOUR PIECE, AND CLOSE WITH A SALES PITCH ON HOW YOU THINK HER READERS WOULD LIKE IT—IF YOU’VE ACTUALLY READ THE LETTERS SECTION OF HER PUBLICATION AND USE THAT IN YOUR PITCH, SHE’LL BE AMAZED.)I have provided a self-addressed, stamped envelope for you as requested.(A SELF-ADDRESSED, STAMPED ENVELOPE IS COMMONLY REFERRED TO AS AN "SASE" AND UNTIL PEOPLE STOP SENDING LETTERS, YOU MIGHT NEED ONE.)I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.Sincerely,Brilliant Writer (Your Name)(Remember, if this letter goes on your own stationery, all the better. If it doesn’t, don’t be surprised when the mail carrier passes your house without stopping six weeks later.)Obviously, the above letter is tongue-in-cheek. I had a bite of peanut-butter sandwich in my mouth when I was writing it, you see, and . . . But seriously, ladies and germs, if your proposed article was laid out as in the letter above, you’d probably sell it, if it fit the magazine.A Sample Query Letter If You Have Previously PublishedMr. See NitallManaging EditorBigtime Magazine777 Park Avenue 
New York, NY 12345(REMEMBER, DON’T WASTE TIME WRITING THE TOP EDITOR, AND LOWER-LEVEL EDITORS OFTEN LIKE TO BE SINGLED OUT AND NOTICED.)Dear Mr. Nitall:After studying the Writer’s Market listing and the last three issues of your magazine ...(OR)I’ve been reading Bigtime Magazine for years and recently...... I concluded that you’d be interested in my article, "Peccary Persuasion Along the Orinoco."As anyone who has been following the news in recent months knows, pigs are the most popular items of interest to the American public today—if not readers around the world.(SHOW HIM HOW YOUR PIECE REACHES THE BROADEST AUDIENCE POSSIBLE.)I came to write this piece after being marooned in the Amazon Jungle by a jealous lover. Reluctant to immediately return to civilization (my erstwhile lover runs the Rhode Island mob), I found solace among a lost tribe—the Heybuddies—who are the best callers of wild pigs in the known world.(YOU’VE GOT HIM, BECAUSE HE’S PROBABLY NEVER HEARD OF THIS.)For example, as a passage into manhood, a Heybuddy male of the age of twelve is led into the jungle by an elder, then abandoned. The young man must then squeal like a pig at the top of his lungs until he either: (1) is eaten by a python or some other animal; or (2) attracts a wild peccary suitable for eating. He is, I should mention, given a week’s instruction in peccary persuasion before being led off into the jungle.(YOU GIVE HIM A TASTE OF YOUR PIECE, BUT CUT IT SHORT, BECAUSE EDITORS OF BIGGER MAGAZINES DON’T HAVE AS MUCH TIME.)I enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope, along with my resume.(IF YOU HAVE A RESUME THAT THE EDITOR WOULD CARE ABOUT, WHICH IS TO SAY, ONE THAT FILLS AT LEAST HALF A PAGE, SINGLE-SPACED, WITH YOUR LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENTS.)(OR)I enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope, along with an article I recently published in Hog Caller News, as a writing sample.(OBVIOUSLY, THE EDITOR WILL WANT TO SEE HOW YOU WRITE BEFORE MAKING AN ASSIGNMENT. WOULDN’T YOU, IF YOU WERE WRITING THE CHECKS?)I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.Sincerely,Your NameI follow similar formats with email queries, but obviously make them shorter. Basically if you can’t fit it on a page or a laptop computer screen, your query is most likely too long for that editor to read. Here’s the example above, adapted to email. Keep in mind with email that the subject line might mean “read” or “delete immediately.”Email QuerySubject Line – Becoming a Man in the Amazon JungleDear Editor (naturally, you’d use the editor’s first name as is common in email),Marooned in the Amazon jungle after a failed love affair, I found solace among a lost tribe, the Heybuddies, who are the best callers of wild pigs in the known world. My whole world changed when I witnessed a passage into manhood - A Heybuddy male of the age of twelve is led into the jungle by an elder, then abandoned. The young man must then squeal like a pig at the top of his lungs until he either: (1) is eaten by a python or some other animal; or (2) attracts a wild peccary suitable for eating. He is, I should mention, given a week’s instruction in peccary persuasion before being led off into the jungle. When I went through this ritual, it changed my entire perspective on life, and I’d like to write about it for your publication.If you could make the email a couple of lines shorter, I would, but I’m using the previous example, adapted, to illustrate my point. Your regular email signature would follow the text.Should you always follow a query with a phone call? Or if you queried by email, should you wait two weeks and query again? If you’re proposing a major piece, it usually doesn’t hurt. If you’re querying about anything else, however, it could hurt your chances. A book manuscript, for example, or a screenplay already delivered will by nature take longer to get a response. Also, the personnel who review your material may be subject to weekly musical chairs, even more so in Hollywood, which can often seem like a morass of mindlessness. If trying to sell something larger than an article or short story, you’re probably better off with an agent. We’ll get into that later. If you don’t have an agent, can’t find an agent, don’t know where to start in finding an agent, don’t want to follow my advice about agents, or think you can beat all the odds and sell your work alone because it truly is the greatest thing since sliced pumpernickel and you simply have to let the right person know, then I have another query for you that you might find useful. When I say "unsolicited" below, I mean they didn’t ask to see your work. You just picked them, and took your chances.Do your homework. If you can’t find the name of an editor to send your book manuscript or proposal to, call the publisher and ask who handles unsolicited manuscripts. (You might be told "We don’t accept those," but it’s worth a call.) If you’re trying to sell a screenplay, call the studio and/or production company you want to sell to and ask for their Director of Development. This is the designated reader (not buyer) of scripts. (You’ll probably be told, "We only deal with submission through agents or lawyers." In other words, they won’t accept a submission of your work directly from you, for legal protection purposes. Some times, though, they’ll accept it if you’ll sign a written “release” form. All told, you’ll need patience and persistence.)Remember what I said about it taking fifteen years to make it big? Well, I’ve lived around Hollywood longer than fifteen years and it took me longer than fifteen years to actually make a name for myself. Not that I’m a household name, but not many writers have sold several screenplays and as many books as I have. Let me warn you in advance: Selling to New York publishers is, percentage-wise, a lot easier than selling to Hollywood.Query Letter for an Unsolicited ScreenplayMs. U. Don’t Know MeDirector of DevelopmentBigtime Studios1 Bigtime PlaceHollywood, CA 90028Dear Ms. Know Me:My screenplay, Don’t Call Me Red, is about the first Martian to be elected to the United States Congress after we colonize Mars, the Red Planet,(THIS SENTENCE IS CALLED THE “HIGH CONCEPT” IN HOLLYWOOD TERMS. IF YOU CAN’T SAY WHAT THE SCREENPLAY OR BOOK IS ABOUT IN A SENTENCE OR TWO, YOU USUALLY DON’T HAVE YOUR PIECE FOCUSED, WHICH IS TO SAY, NOT WELL-WRITTEN.)I know that in the past, your company has made successful films I’ve enjoyed like "First Woman in the Moon" and "Saucers from Hell." I believe my film could be another great success for you, and I picked your company as the first to see it. I enclose a one-page synopsis of my script, along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. I look forward to hearing from you at your first available opportunity.(IF YOU HAVE A RESUME THAT THE READER WOULD CARE ABOUT, SEND IT. IF YOUR RESUME DOESN’T MUCH RELATE TO THE SUBJECT OF YOUR SCRIPT, IT WON’T MATTER.)Sincerely, 
Your NameNote that, in the example above, I mention a one-page synopsis. It’s also called a “one-sheet” in Hollywood. I’ve often included a short synopsis, preferably one page or less, with any large work I send in. Script readers go through dozens of scripts in a week, writing synopses or summaries on each for those scripts they either recommend others to read, or those they turn down. The report is usually known as "coverage" and will be filed for future reference, should another production company at that studio receive your script. It works pretty much the same with book publishers, only they may not be as organized, because the financial stakes aren’t usually as high. Some people advise against including synopses of any kind, thinking they should read the entire manuscript or script, and gives a potential buyer an easy chance to turn something down, so it’s up to you.Here’s my logic:It might cost in the hundreds of thousands to publish a book, yet even a low-budget film might cost well over a million dollars. (Not an independent movie like Napoleon Dynamite or Paranormal Activity, but a normal independent movie.) To save companies time (and see if I really do have my work focused) I include a synopsis with my work, but only when I’m asked for one or if I have an instinct to include it. (You must learn to trust your instincts in selling.)Although people may get edgy over a letter or document longer than one page, I’ve never had anyone complain about a one–page synopsis.Here’s the catch. Most Hollywood companies don’t bother reading mailed letters these days; they prefer emails and then follow-up synopses they are expecting, and if they like that, they’ll request the script, which is usually delivered in PDF format any more. My, how things have changed in a few short years.If They Don’t Like Your Work, It Doesn’t Mean They Don’t Like YouI wrote a play once about a despondent writer who thinks of committing suicide, then changes his mind, only to lose his life in an accident a few moments later. He is brought back to life by his guardian angel, who is an apprentice angel plenty mad about the threat to her angelic career that the bungling writer in her charge has brought about with his knuckleheadedness.One wall of the writer’s apartment, when the play was staged, was plastered with real rejection letters.My own very real rejection letters.If you sincerely want to make it as a writer, grow some thick rhinoceros skin. If you let the rejections you’re almost certain to get affect you personally, you’ll drive yourself crazy and feel like the worst person in the world. Even if you write perfect query letters and fantastic manuscripts, you’ll still get rejections. I keep a small ceramic rhinoceros figurine on my desk to remind me.Since I want to do everything I can to help you get a few less stinging darts tossed at your feelings, here’s one more tip to help you write a better query. As you may have noticed in my first letter above when I referred to Boys’ Life, many magazines have a long "lead time." (This holds true even for electronically-published magazines.) This means they plan the theme of each issue and schedule their articles well in advance. One article I sold to Writer’s Digest was published a year later than originally planned, while another to Reader’s Digest had a similar fate. What this means to you is that you can usually write an editor of a magazine and ask for ablishing schedule. They might call it something else, but they’ll know what you mean. This might not be mentioned in their "what we’re looking for" description in a book or magazine.Think about it logically. If you were an editor planning a Christmas issue, wouldn’t you want to buy your articles starting in March or so? If you planned on doing an issue that you wanted to be read by every armed services veteran in America, wouldn’t it make sense to have it come out on Memorial Day, or Veterans Day?As a writer, you should consider things like this. If you have a piece about a unique Thanksgiving your family had, don’t write the editor in October! You can find out what’s on their mind by asking for the publishing schedule. They might not always stick to it, but it’s at least what they’re planning.Don’t Downplay Your HunchesNo matter what your homework tells you, if you have a sneaking suspicion that you can sell your piece to an editor despite everything you’ve read about them, act on it. You’ll only waste postage if you’re wrong. I once read about Grit in a market listing and was intrigued. Grit, a tabloid-size newspaper, was geared to families when I was a kid, bringing news and homey advice to rural areas. Kids went door-to-door selling subscriptions to Grit, which featured comics that I didn’t see in my local newspaper, like "The Phantom." Grit held fond memories for me, and the idea of making a sale to them was a boyhood fantasy. Problem was, the only fiction need they listed was full-length novels for serialization. At the time, I didn’t have a completed novel that I thought would be right for Grit readers. Still, I had this funny feeling that if the magazine serialized books, they might buy short stories.So I sent the managing editor my resume and mentioned the short stories I had for sale.My hunch paid off. Mike Rafferty, the managing editor, had just been promoted to editor-in-chief when my letter arrived. No new managing editor had been selected. Mike read my letter and called me. He wanted to do exactly what I had proposed—publish some short stories. From looking at my resume, he said, he thought I might have some good ones. That made my month.I hope you make something out of my advice about queries, hopefully a big sale. When you get your first great response from a query letter, write or email me and let me know. You’ll get another great response. And now, last but certainly not least, the Web has given writers a whole new way to get in the good graces of people who can buy their writing. Let’s go over it.Using the Social NetworksA friend got me involved in Facebook. I had plenty of online social activity already, with my own discussion group on Yahoo! and some times a hundred emails a day from various people, not counting all the “automatic” emails I’d set myself up to receive from various sites. I quickly learned the “friends” trick courtesy of my writer friend, Tim Casey. He had managed to befriend a lot of Hollywood celebrities, so I looked through his friends list and did friend requests with people I thought might help with my own career. Funny thing is, not a single one of those contacts led to anything business-wise, but it was interesting reading some of the posts on various people’s Facebook Wall.My own postings soon gravitated to political ones, and I met a lot of similarly-minded friends, along with acquiring friends who requested being on my list because they had read one of my books or taken one of my classes. I unfortunately discovered that Facebook could be addicting and that I would use it far too often to ignore writing I should be doing. At other times, it was a good place to take a break from a heavy writing schedule.One thing I did notice about using Facebook was that some people actually read your Info page to find out what you do, particularly after they like some comment you have made on one of their posts, or when they begin to recognize what you do with your life other than posting on Facebook. After a number of months on the site, I acquired a few people interested in my services as a writing consultant, though it never turned into anything very lucrative. I assumed that was because of the economy at the time, or because I wasn’t exactly broadcasting the fact that I was a writing teacher and coach on occasion.After a while, I accumulated so many friends I reached the 5,000 friends cutoff figure and had to start a public page I called “Skip Press – Author”. From there, I learned that I could post on that page and have it automatically ported over to Twitter, which was appealing to me. A number of my friends from my regular page – all of whom had an interest in writing – “liked” my public page and I suppose they follow it, but they rarely post a response to my own postings there. So the question becomes “Can you advance your writing career on Facebook?”I don’t have the answer for that, but I do know this – a good query works well on Facebook. In my experience, when you add a “personal message” to your “friend request” you’re much more likely to get the response you want, which is a new friend. I found that in becoming friends with celebrities (like actor Luke Wilson) it first began with the content of the short personal message (no more than a sentence or so), and then developed on the reading and posting to each other’s Wall. Celebrities aren’t any big deal to me because I’ve worked with so many and been around Hollywood a long time, but if we can do business, I’m all for contacting them in any way possible if it’s not intrusive or offensive.As we know, there are many companies with Facebook pages and the official pages all have (at least all I’ve seen) a place where you can “Like” the page and thus be able to read it. There is rarely, however, a place to message someone. While writing this I checked on New Yorker magazine because the day before a writer had called from there to interview me for an article. I found numerous New Yorker pages but nothing that seemed “official.” So could you use Facebook to further your writing with a big magazine or media company? Well, maybe. I looked up the name of the writer of the article and found him. There’s your opening for a query. If you know the name of a person involved with a publication or media company, look them up on Facebook. You’ll probably be able to send them a short message. You might want to try to friend them and see what plays out. Some times, it’s a quicker direct route to that person than any other, so give it a try.LinkedIn is a much more business-like social networking site. I think of it as a business networking site, really, with hardly any social aspects to it. Like Facebook, it won’t cost you anything to set up a profile, but unlike Facebook you can upgrade to a better LinkedIn situation, if you’re willing to pay for it. The site does beat Facebook at something important, though, and that’s Jobs. It’s right there on the top menu at LinkedIn, and it can turn into a very rewarding search. Checking as I finished up this chapter, one click gave me two immediate “Jobs you may be interested in” openings:Seeking Talented Freelance Writers - All Locations/Telecommuting PositionMarketing Communications CoordinatorVirgin Atlantic Airways - Greater New York City AreaThe first was for one of the many “paid by page view” situations that sprang up on the Web at the end of the “aughts” in the early 21st century. The other was a legitimate big time job for a major international company (which would require relocation). So while I wouldn’t be interested in the first, I might be interested in the latter, and in both cases I was just a few clicks away from applying for the job.More importantly, I’ve found from being on LinkedIn much longer than Facebook that, because LinkedIn is geared primarily for business, if you locate someone that you think you’d like to do business with, particularly if you’re willing to pay to be able to send “InMail” on LinkedIn, you can query someone and almost always get a response. You can also search in the Jobs area with a keyword like “writer” and you might be amazed at how many come up. Why? Very simple – LinkedIn members who need people post job opportunities on LinkedIn, knowing they’re much more likely to get professional responses. You can see this by looking on the right side of page featuring the ad, and if you’ve paid for the ability to send InMail, you can query that person and ask for further details about the job or anything else you need to know. If they’re already a LinkedIn friend, all the better.To locate jobs on Facebook you have to go to the “Marketplace” area and then open “Jobs” from there. To be fair, I did find major jobs on Facebook when searching in my area (Los Angeles) from Disney and other entertainment companies, but the jobs on Facebook are more difficult to locate, as described. They are “powered by” (meaning, provided by), which if you’ve never seen it, is like Craigslist with a lot more pictures.And then we have Twitter, where your “tweet” can be no longer than 140 characters. If you choose to follow someone on Twitter and see their tweets, some times they will have the “Message” button enabled on their page and you can send them a query directly. Generally, however, the more well-known they are the less likely they are to allow direct messages. So how can you get their attention on Twitter? With a “hashtag” such as #money. Let’s say “money” was in the news that day, or to be less silly and more specific, let’s say it was “e-book royalties” which could be expressed as #ebookroyalties. Maybe the Authors Guild is arguing with publishers about how much of a percentage authors are being offered on e-books and the negotiations are in the news that day. People could be following news on Twitter so people discussing that put #ebookroyalties at the end of their tweets. If you tweeted – “I’ve created the most interesting enhanced e-book of all time! #ebookroyalties.” That’s well within the 140 character limit (it’s only 78) so who knows, some publisher or editor might see that and be curious enough to get in touch with you – if you have your direct message button enabled!That might not be the greatest description of how to use Twitter but since all social networks are different, just as all people you’ll contact in your writing career will be different to some degree, you have to be creative and adaptable. Writer Justin Halpern did that with his Twitter feed called “Shit My Dad Says” about moving back in as an adult with a retired father who had many funny pithy sayings. The feed got so many followers it became not only a book but a CBS TV sitcom called $#*! My Dad Says starring William Shatner.The title of this chapter is Who Cares Who Queries? and here’s the answer – they all do, if you can make them money! Happy queries to you...

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