Some of our younger members have requested advice on some of the basics of establishing a career in outdoors communication. I will try to make these segments a part of my monthly newsletters.
We have received questions on how to develop a template for queries. I'll say right away that I think that using a template (or a formula) for queries is the wrong approach.
Each story idea you pitch out to an editor should be as personal as possible. I start by finding the editor's name and email address (often available in the masthead page of the magazine) and address my email personally to him or her rather than a general email address that receives hundreds of queries from readers.
Explain who you are and why that editor should be interested in your story idea. Study the magazine to see the type of articles it publishes and tailor your idea for something that editor might be interested in.
Don't just say, "bass fishing at Lake of the Ozarks." Get specific, such as "Ways to catch big bass in the heat of summer." Or "a Bassmaster Elite pro shows how to use finesse baits."
Attach a copy of your resume and links to three of your stories so that editor can see your work. If you haven't heard back after a couple weeks, email back and politely ask if he or she has had a chance to read over your query.
In the next newsletter, we'll go over ways to find markets.
Until then, stay warm and count down the days until spring.