Thursday, April 12, 2007

When a Clip Isn't a Clip

When sending clips, would you go for the clip that is the most impressive or best reflects the style of the publication you're querying? I know that blog entries are not really clips (or are they? technically, it is a "writing sample") but I've occasionally used them if I think the editor will appreciate my style, and I make sure to mention the magazines and other publications I've written for. Would a print editor scoff at this?

I'd send both: the most impressive and the one that is most reflective of the publication's style. In fact, when sending clips, I always include at least three, so this shouldn't be a problem. The most prestigious says, "Hey, I can write for the big guns," while the most tailored says, "Hey, I can cover this topic for you sans problem."

One thing I wouldn't do, however, is send in blog entries. Like letters-to-the-editor, they might *technically* be examples of your writing, but a) no one has hired you to write them, b) no one has given you any guidelines to follow, thus editors don't know if you can take feedback, meet deadlines or pull together a structurally sound article, and c) everyone and their mother has a blog these days, so I don't think that it's particularly impressive if you have on yourself.

That said, of course, if you think it's something that the editor is dying to read, then you can send it in, but I'd always, always include other clips because again, you can be a genius blogger and still not know how to craft a good article. So I guess your blog would indicate that you can write in a certain voice (I'd assume that's why you'd send in an entry), while the other clips would demonstrate that you're a pro.

But all things being equal, I'd skip blog entries entirely. (But don't beat yourself up for doing this! You live and learn, and many other far more egregious slip-ups have been made!)

So, what say you readers? Disagree or agree with me about blog entries?

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