When writing a query letter for a magazine is it a good idea to do brief interviews before you get the assignment?
My personal preference is to not interview people in advance, but rather to LINE UP interviews. You can explain to potential interviewees that you’re pitching an idea with no guarantee that the article will be assigned, and that you’d like to list them as your “experts” in your query letter; experts you will interview if the piece is assigned.
If you do decide to interview the people in advance, make it a pre-interview scouting session (scouting for information and direction for the article, and to make sure you’re using the right experts). Otherwise, a two-hour interview that never turns into a story could leave you with a disappointed (or even mad!) expert.
Hope that helps!