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How to write a query letter and get published:
Find links to other articles on query letters at the end of the
Five Keys to Writing a Successful Query Letter
By Kristi Sayles
A great query letter must do five things:
A great query letter must do five things:
• Grab attention immediately.
• Summarize your article or book idea in the most
• Emphasize why YOU are the best one to write about the
• Show your professionalism.
• Display your writing credits.
First, I highly recommend beginning your opening with the
first line or two of your article or book. It immediately
draws the editor or agent’s attention to your idea. Since
you’ve probably sweated over the perfect beginning anyway,
why not let it do double duty?
Second, make your points quickly, yet concisely. Don’t drag
out your story idea. Build excitement in your recipient to
WANT to read more about this fascinating story.
Third, tell why you are so knowledgeable about the topic.
Why did you choose the topic?
Are you querying about an article about dogs? If you are a
professional trainer-then say so. Are you suggesting a “How
To…” book? Tell your qualifications.
Fourth, you should always present yourself as an
intelligent professional. Be sure that your writing tone is
confident without sounding arrogant. Always double-check
your grammar and spelling. Many editors have stated that
they will not deal with writers that do not show enough
pride in their work to use a spell-checker!
Finally, toot your own horn! This is where you get to brag
about your writing accomplishments. Most editors will
appreciate the fact that you’ve written something that has
been considered good enough to be published.
If you are a new, unpublished writer, there’s still hope
for you. Many editors are looking for new talent. Don’t
mention that you have not been published yet. Simply make
it clear that you have enjoyed a particular article
recently published, then name the article and state how
your article idea would mesh with the magazine as well.
Actually, that’s a good idea for all queries to include!
Now that you’ve got a handle on the five important query
letter components, what are you waiting for? Get started on
that all-important query now!
HOW TO WRITE A GREAT
QUERY LETTER: INSIDER TIPS AND TECHNIQUES FOR SUCCESS is a
must-read for any writer serious about being published. Designed for
writers of fiction and non-fiction, for screenwriters and poets, it speaks
to a broad range of authors, offering principles which will help lead to
success no matter what your craft. Practical, engaging, filled with
exercises, anecdotes and sidebars, this 80 page e-book takes you on a
journey, will transform your query letter from a document that could be
rejected to a document that will make agents take you seriously.