By Terreece M. Clarke
A query letter is what’s going to get you into the door – wait, scratch that. A great email subject line is what’s going to get you into the door. The query letter is going to get you invited in for a moment, and that’s all you have – one moment to land that writing job.
Your query letter is like anything else you write. It has to grab the editor’s attention and make them want to read on. The very best advice I have I didn’t come up with on my own. My writing mentor hipped me to it: write your query letter exactly like you would write the article.
Start off with your anecdote, eye-catching statistic or quote:
“Every year 2,000 children are eaten by Smurfs.”
Then explain what the article will be about – this is a good bullet point area.
“This article will explore why Smurf attacks are on the rise and what parents can do to protect their children including:
- Keep them away from Smurf dwellings – red and yellow mushrooms.
- Don’t leave Smurf berries out around play areas.
- Keep a large brownish-orange cat at your residence.
Then mention a few sources:
“I will interview Dr. Gargamel who has recently published a book titled “Smurfette Rage – A Human’s Guide to Smurf Removal” and Smurf activist Mother Nature to provide perspective on human interference in the Smurf habitat.”
Setting your query up like your article will help the editor quickly sum up whether your pitch will fit with their magazine and if not, another angle they may want to see.
Okay FWJ – what’s your best query advice?