Sunday, April 28, 2013

Important Hints on Writing an Outstanding Query Letter

Imagine that you've finally finished your manuscript or magazine article. You've edited until you were bleary-eyed, looking for typing errors, sloppy sentence structure, and redundant words, just for starters. But now you need to find a market for your masterpiece. It's time to create a query letter that will captivate the editor. How do you do that?
  • Research who the editor actually is:   In order to start out on the right foot with your wonderful query letter, you must discover the name of the person to whom the letter should be addressed. NEVER begin with "Dear Sir or Madam." That will assure that your letter is headed for the circular file. If you're not sure where to look for the proper person's name, you may call the company and ask who should receive your letter. You may find the name inside a magazine that the company publishes. If you've researched every possible avenue and still haven't gotten a concrete answer, it's acceptable to begin with "Dear Editor."
  • Limit the information you provide:  Keep your presentation to one page. Be sure not to blather on about every detail of your story. Give the editor interesting tidbits that are sure to whet his or her interest.
  • Include a synopsis of your book:  Create a synopsis of your book, without rambling on about how wonderful it is. Let the editor come to his/her own conclusion about that. Instead include some information about the major and minor characters and the conflicts in your book or article.
  • Omit fancy designs and drawings: If you're considering putting fancy designs or drawings on your letter, discard that idea. It only distracts from your work. You want the editor to be impressed with your literary ability instead.
  • Your Bio: It's a good idea to include your writing experience, awards, and education, but not personal information like your age, or the fact that you may be inexperienced. If the editor realizes you're lacking experience, he/she will be less likely to give your work serious consideration.
  •  Don't send your manuscript:   Never send your manuscript with the query letter. Leave that decision to the editor. You want your query letter to be so intriguing that the editor contacts you to request your manuscript.
Now you know some vital hints that will help you craft a fantastic query letter. It will help you reach your goal of having your work published.


  1. Good post! I'm actually going to be a guest tomorrow on somebody's blog, and the article I wrote is about how to write an excellent query letter.

  2. Oh, good job! I'm sure you'll be an excellent guest and everyone will be interested in reading your opinions on it. I'll look forward to reading it.

  3. I haven't researched queries extensively so I don't know how many share the advice you have on the BIO section but its the first time I see it. I wouldn't think to share personal information but then I wouldn't think to share any of my awards or experience either, I thought it was ALL about the book your pitching. I learned something ;)

    FYI: If I was to do queries I would totally research EVERYTHING I could possible find on it, this is a good place to start!

  4. I think it's important for editors to know about your experience, S. K., even if you feel shy about sharing it ( I can relate to that) Glad my blog helped sort things out for you and thank you for commenting.

  5. Thanks for this information. Every bit helps! Writers helping writers! Keep up the good work. I review children's books on my blog: