Five Minutes With The Editor: Owen Linderholm

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

Owen Linderholm | LinkedIn.jpgThis week, we talk to Owen Linderholm of Press For Change. Owen started as a journalist 25 years ago and has since been an editor, editorial director, web content strategist, and publisher, primarily focused on technology.

Owen now runs Press for Change, a small independent publishing company focused on food writing, cookbooks, various technical non-fiction titles and some Young Adult Fiction.

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

That’s a two parter. First, I don’t actually want you to make it quick and easy for me to deal with. What do I mean by that? Well, I mean that there is only one quick and easy way to deal with a query – and that is not going to involve what you had hoped for with your query. Instead you have to make it quick and easy for me to be really interested. So – be on topic, be clear, get to the point. Let me see enough of your writing that I can relax about it. Prove that you know the topic. (My pet peeve is writers who say they know the topic but clearly don’t). Funnily enough I don’t care about your past writing (except to show you know the topic) all that much.

How do you like to receive writing samples?

Links – and links only – it is all online now. That’s for past samples. But your letter better let your writing show – or I won’t have gone as far as the 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?

Yes – plus I like variety. You have to know enough to write about what you are pitching, but I like to see that you can write about other things too. Plus if you know online and organization and SEO and social media then all of that will be easier when the time comes.

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

The best letters show that they took some time, that they know who I am and what I want and that they know what they are proposing. Frankly even if I don’t like the specific pitch I might like you enough to suggest something else. The worst letters are always the completely misguided ones. The ones where it was a waste of time opening the email (yes – it had all better be email…).

If you have a book idea that you think is suitable for Press for Change, send your pitch to info@pressforchange.com.

One Response to “Five Minutes With The Editor: Owen Linderholm”

  1. George Angus Says:

    I sure wish I had a foodie book to pitch. It sure seems that Owen would be a peach to work with – ummm, no pun intended 🙂

    I did send this page to a couple of stumble friends who are food oriented. I’d like to see good things happen with all of them.

    George