Failed Queries: New Monthly Feature for an Idea Whose Time Has Come — and Gone

In an attempt to better my blog and step up my social media presence, I have been trying to tackle the assignments presented by The Daily Post in its Blogging 201: Branding and Growth course. The Day Five challenge encourages bloggers to “Give ‘Em What They Want” by posting potentially popular content on the days its most likely to be read. In analyzing my blog’s meager

Free Photo from MorgueFile

Free Photo from MorgueFile

statistics, I determined Tuesdays were the best days to post new content and also decided to add a regular monthly feature to my editorial calendar. This feature, Failed Queries, will appear on the third Tuesday of every month until I run out of rejected ideas, which means it may be around for a while. One of my expired ideas, on the lack of TSA Pre-Check Enrollment Centers near some major cities, seemed like a solid pitch until the agency dramatically expanded the service.

If you are interested in reading another failed query from the archives, please check out On Birthdays, Willie Nelson and Failed Queries.

Dear Editor’s Name:

I hope all is well. I was wondering if you’d be interested in a short piece on the fact the Transportation Security Administration does not have enrollment centers near some major cities. For example, the closest enrollment center to Dallas is about 150 miles away in Lawton, Oklahoma. If St. Louis travelers want to enroll in the Pre-Check program, they have to drive about  90 miles to Herrin, Illinois, population 12,000.

I think this would be of interest to your readers and hope you agree. Please let me know if you’d like more information on this idea. Meanwhile, I have included a link to my resume and some writing samples for you to consider. As for my professional credentials, I have a decade of experience as a writing teacher as well as years of reporting experience as a freelancer and staff writer at publications around the country, including The Dallas Morning News. Most recently, I have been working on stories for publication by magazines and blogs including SUCCESS, Eating Well, Poets & Writers, DRAFT Magazine, Organic Gardening, The FruitGuys Almanac and WOW! Women On Writing.


Charlene Oldham

My Latest in WOW! Women On Writing – Writing for Trade Publications

For those looking to balance their day jobs with writing time, trade publications can offer an opportunity to learn more about their industry and make new connections while writing, often for extra cash on the side. Some industries, such as nursing and publishing, offer hundreds of online and print outlets seeking submissions. Others have a handful of focused publications geared to specific segments of the industry. Here are just a few examples of publications that pay and one that offers unpaid bloggers the opportunity to share their professional expertise with potential clients and contacts on a regular basis…

Read about some specific trade pubs here.

On Birthdays, Willie Nelson and Failed Queries

Here is one of my favorite failed query letters of late. Since the story didn’t sell, I guess I will just have to make myself feel better by buying myself the album tomorrow.

Dear Editor’s Name:
Not very many women in their 30s would admit to having a long-term love affair with a man old enough to be her grandfather. But, for me, it’s a point of pride.
My love affair — albeit unrequited — with Willie Nelson began when  I received a copy of the album Urban Chipmunk. The 1981 kids’ classic from Alvin and the Chipmunks ended with a version of “On the Road Again.” Hearing it marked the beginning of my own odyssey the meet the man behind the song.
Thirty years later, I still haven’t succeeded. But it’s certainly not for lack of effort.
I’ve had a couple of near misses. Take the time I landed a gig at the opening event for Farm Aid-St. Louis for one of the bands I represented as a publicist. Willie was to join the band for their last number at The Duck Room at Blueberry Hill had his plane landed in time. Alas, it was late and the country legend had to prepare for Farm Aid the following day. Then there was the time owners of The Pageant emailed me looking for an opening act for Willie’s 2010 show there. I sent samples from my clients, The 7 Smart Fellers, to Willie’s agents who selected another local band. Maybe I should have included an impassioned personal plea that disclosed my desire to braid the Highwayman’s hair.
Maybe not.
Imagine my excitement at learning of the release of Willie’s new album, Heroes, which features collaborations with other favorites including Merle Haggard and Snoop Dogg. The May 15 release date even falls on my birthday. Coincidence? I think not. Rather, I see it as the perfect opportunity to write about my lifelong obsession with the Red Headed Stranger and my hopes that he won’t be a stranger forever.
As for my professional credentials …
I’d love to see some of your favorite failed queries, get a list of your favorite albums from your youth, or hear about the celebrity you’d love to meet, especially if he or she is nearly an octogenarian.