Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Expert Sources

Promising to Quote Experts in Your Queries: Is It Necessary?

Below is a great question from one of my clients about approaching editors with a story idea (i.e., a query).

Q: Do you have to have an "expert" for every article you query?

A: Nope. You don't even have to use an expert in the article if your own fitness expertise can back up your points. But if you are writing on a topic you don't know much about, then letting the editor know in your query that you plan to use one or more experts helps give the proposed piece more credibility.

For example, I just finished a piece on fitness bootcamps for a women's magazine. Although I teach many of the moves mentioned in the article in my traditional group exercise classes, I also interviewed and quoted a personal trainer who has actual experience organizing and leading bootcamp workouts.

In general, editors at bigger magazines usually want me to cite an expert even if the fitness info I am writing about is stuff I know because of my fitness background. An exception to this would be if an editor assigns a piece to you specifically to highlight your own fitness expertise and exercise suggestions.

If you feel that your piece doesn't need an expert, there's no reason to promise one when you query. If the editor likes your idea but feels you need to quote one or more experts, he or
she will ask you to do so when assigning the piece.

Learn more about the art and science of selling your article ideas to editors:
How to Write Winning Queries online workshop.

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