How not to query a new editor

As reviews editor for Computerworld, I don’t usually complain about queries I get from freelancers — they usually veer from “Hmmm, maybe I should give this one a try” to “Sorry, but not right for us.” But I recently got one that was so useless — and at the same time, seemed so inappropriately confident — that I thought I’d quickly offer a “Don’t let this be you” message.

The email I got was short and to the point. The subject was “query from journalist” and the message read:

“Would you care for a review of the new Seagate Wireless Plus? Thanks.”

With the person’s name and a link to his website. And that was it.

There was no introduction telling me who he was, why he was qualified to do a review for us, or what it was about that particular product that deserved reviewing. The website that he linked to featured a description of an apparently self-published book that had nothing whatsoever to do with technology.

He had also apparently send a similar query to at least one other staff member.

I checked my past email, and he had sent a similarly worded query a few months ago for a different product. That time, I was a bit amused, and simply sent an equally terse answer of: “No, thank you.”

This time, he doesn’t get an answer. If he happens to be reading this, a quick word of advice: If you want to work for a new publication, make sure you introduce yourself properly. If you can’t take the time to offer a well-composed query, I won’t take the time to answer it.



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