Five Minutes With The Editor: David Freedman

In an ongoing series for Writer’s Residence, editors talk to us about what they look for in pitches and queries.

David M. Freedman | LinkedIn.jpg This week, we talk to David Freedman, a magazine and newsletter editor with over 31 years experience in the editing trade. Focussed on law, finance and technology, David has served on the editorial staffs of numerous consumer, business, professional and trade periodicals.

Since 1999, David has worked as a freelance journalist and has authored feature articles for dozens of national and local magazines, newsletters, newspapers, and online media. You can read more about him and his work at freedman-chicago.com.

What do you want from a query to make it quick and easy for you to deal with?

I want a clear statement of the story’s premise, and why it benefits my readers. Why should my readers care, and how will it help them? Is this premise new, creative, or insightful? Too many query letters treat the premise superficially.

How do you like to receive writing samples?

I will accept writing samples any way I can get them. The important thing is the quality and relevance of the samples, not how they are conveyed to me. I’m happy to go out of my way to see outstanding samples.

If a writer sends you a link to their website with their query, do you visit it? How much does this weigh on your decision to commission them for an article?

I’ll visit the writer’s website. I want to know all I can about the writer’s communication skills. Websites are publications.

What qualities do the best query letters share? What about the worst query letters?

I can usually tell if the query writer has read my publication. If so, I will treat the writer with courtesy, and make constructive suggestions, even if I reject the proposal; I might suggest another topic that the writer is qualified to write about. If the writer hasn’t read my publication, I am not inclined to be as courteous.

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