[Announcing a new monthly column, The Freelance Life, by Ethan Gilsdorf, about the trials, tribulations, triumphs --- and tips to share --- along the path to becoming a freelance writer. This fall, Ethan is launching a suite of classes at GrubStreet called the Freelance Essentials Series, which teaches students the skills and craft to become working freelance journalists.]
by Ethan Gilsdorf
Back in the 1990s, when I first contemplated becoming a freelance writer, I was green. OK, I was more than green. I was chartreuse. I was viridescent. I was so naive-green, it hurt to look at me.
But for some reason ...
Today's lesson: How to write a killer pitch letter.
By "kill," I don't mean actual death. That would be wrong, illegal, and really messy given all this heat we've been having. I mean, how to write a pitch letter (aka "query letter") for your novel or nonfiction book or article idea or essay that literally stops editors and agents dead in their tracks. Your goal: to get them to read beyond that first paragraph (what we in the biz call "graf") and into the heart of your query letter.
[Another entry in the ongoing blog "Would We Lie To You?: News from the Non-Fiction Career Lab"]
By Ethan Gilsdorf
So you've had your one-on-one with an agent or editor at the Muse and Marketplace conference. And you have this sinking feeling you need to give that query letter a makeover.
Or, you want to send out your manuscript. And you've never written a cover letter before.
The table of any writers’ meeting at Grub Street generally plays host to a combination of familiar artifacts: computers, coffee, notebooks and photocopies. It does not, however, usually involve chainmail. Or plastic swords. Or giant foam twenty-sided dice.
But all those things – plus tiny plastic Orc figurines – filled the table at Grub Street when Ethan Gilsdorf, author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks came to discuss his book with our freelance writing group. Or perhaps I should call it *his* freelance writing group – because he’s the man who brought us all together. Though it was us that kept it ...
I was hanging out with my nephews over the weekend.
Jack and Henry are aged 8 and 4 respectively. A couple years back, Jack took tap dancing lessons.
GrubStreet instructor Ethan Gilsdorf had the chance to speak with Wild author Cheryl Strayed about what it's like to take risks in your personal essays and memoir writing. Here's what she had to say.
Ethan Gilsdorf: This is a question for my writing students at GrubStreet. I’ve been teaching a class right now here in Boston called “Writing and Publishing ...