I recently got this inquiry in my LDS Publisher e-mail. See if you can figure out what’s wrong with it.
I came across your blog (Contests!) and am wondering if you would consider letting me submit a guest post on your site. I am new to freelancing, and I am trying to build my online portfolio. I don’t know if you have a formal procedure or are willing to accept a guest writer, but please let me know if this is possible. I would appreciate you getting back with me with and I can send over an article for your consideration.
In terms of the topic for the article, I’m thinking about writing something that relates to the general theme of your blog, but if there is something specific you would like me to write about, just let me know…
Did you figure it out?
- Big issue: The writer wants to do a guest post for my Contests! site? Something on its general theme? If s/he had spent even one minute perusing that site, s/he would have realized that there is no theme other than posting contests, and that guest posts are not appropriate for that site. If s/he’d clicked on any of the links at the top of the site s/he would have discovered that the LDS Publisher site was the one s/he really should be querying about guest posting.
- Little issue: S/he really should have proofed her/his query a little better. S/he did include two links to articles s/he’d written and they were clean, no typos there. The writing was nothing spectacular, but not bad either.
As a publisher/editor, I can overlook the little typo issue. I’m not excusing it. Your query should be perfect. But we’re all human, cut and paste errors happen (even in published books!), and most of the time I’m willing to look at the sample writing sent with an imperfect query.
But the big issue is, well, BIG. And it happens all the time. Queries get sent to publishers who aren’t looking for that type of story. Although some publishers are a little vague on what they want, most publishers are very clear on their website. For example, my site said, “We do not publish picture books.” And yet, at least once a month, I’d get a query for a picture book. It was a waste of my time, my assistant’s time and the author’s time and money.
Five minutes or less—that’s all it takes to look at a publisher’s website and determine whether your manuscript is something they’d like to see.