Writers at Mac’s Backs this past Saturday, March 3/5 encountered a great opportunity to learn how to create query letters and pitch nonfiction writing professionally.
Led by Chris Johnston, a veteran freelance journalist, eight Cleveland writers aspiring to get their voices heard gathered in the secluded and cozy bookstore basement. From horticulturalists to housewives, playwrights to passion-filled veterans, everyone there had a common aspiration: to get their writing out into the world.
Beginning with the fundamentals of what publications want from freelance writers, Chris quickly advanced into how to contact publishing firms, advising participants to “invest in publications; it will pay off in the long term.” He also outlined a four-step process for query letter writing, a process that's key to pitching. Throughout the two hours, Chris dispensed a variety of journalism jargon and spoke fluidly of his own experiences. At the follow up program on 3/19, each writer will bring in a rough draft of a query letter and ideas of possible publications they would like to contact.
When the session came to an end, an essential springboard for writers had been formed that was based on one of Chris’ teaching tenets: “Once I’m your teacher, I’m always your teacher”.
-- Liz Brett, Gilmour HS senior and Lit Cleveland intern
“Your writing is an art form that will continue to evolve as you write more and get more experience.”