Query Letter Writing: World’s Worst Query Letter

Since I got the pleasure of writing for April Fool’s Day here at Freelance Writing Jobs, I’d like to flex my creative muscles and write what has to be the world’s worst query letter.  Query letter writing is half skill and half art, but some writers are just lazy.  I can only laugh at some of the things I’ve seen.  Hopefully you’ll smile with this one too.

query letter writing

Note: This letter is replying to a hypothetical query posted by “Janice” on Craigslist wanting a new blogger to write once a week on her hair salon’s blog, Smarter Clips at $30/post.

Hey Janet,

It’s Alexis here, the guy with the short hair.  Well, maybe a little too short – I haven’t had my hair cut by you!  My current hairdresser sucks.

Your craigslist post was very interesting indeed.  I love the name of your blog, Smart Clips, but does a hair salon really need a blog?  I’ve never written about hair; in fact, I use the cheap stuf whenever I can.

But I blog a lot, and all of my curretn customers really appreciate my blogging efforts.  I’m reliable and dependent and will work with you to make the most of your salon’s blogging presence.

My rates are $37/hour and of course you’ll be invoiced monthly with clear information on the work that’s been done.  I’m happy to do revisions whenever necessary, of course billable under the same rate.

I’m really excited to be part of the Smarter Clips team and can’t wait to get started.

Keep it Real,


PS – I’ll check back with you in a week if I haven’t heard from you.

OK, folks, once you’ve picked yourselves up off the floor….

What was wrong here?  This is query letter writing gone very very bad.

  • Relaxed is good, but that was a little TOO relaxed.  “Hey Janet”?  Sounds more like “Hey Janet, want a beer” instead of “Hey Janet, can I have a job?”  And it’s a bit rambling with details that aren’t at all relevant.
  • He got her name wrong.  Schoolboy mistake.  It does  happen in the most innocent of circumstances, but proofread!
  • He made it very clear that he wasn’t the right person for the job.  If that’s the case, either highlight the reasons that you are still quite suitable, or don’t apply.  That’s a waste of your time that you could use searching for gigs that you’re perfect for.
  • He mentions clips and specific experience but provided no documentation to back it up.
  • He talked about money without any clarity as to what was posted in the advert.  That’s fine if that’s his rate, but can he do the job for the amount posted?
  • There are typos.  I am the worst typist, believe me, I’ve been lambasted more than Deb when it comes to proofreading.  (In fact there is probably a typo elsewhere in this article.  Feel free to not mention it, thanks.) Proofread, folks, proofread.  Especially double-check your templates – has happened to me more than once.
  • His PS could almost be called aggressive!  You should follow-up with people, but there is no need to tell them you’ll come knocking at a specific date/time.

Happy April Fool’s Everyone.  🙂  What else would you NOT do in a query letter?

Photo by notsogoodphotography


4 responses
  1. Susan Rand Avatar
    Susan Rand

    This is a good article, but the advice to research the employer is off base. On the job sites I use and the newsletters I receive, the employer’s name is not always listed. Sometimes they will give a website you can visit, but the info found there may or may not be helpful. I use a form letter, but I always tailor it (and my resume) to any clues in the ad.

  2. Andy Hayes Avatar

    Hi Susan,

    Yes of course you can’t include specifics if the employer is anonymous. But I do hope everyone does go the extra mile to find a name to tailor it to – you stand out a lot more in the crowd when you make it clear you’re serious enough to have looked up an editor’s name.

    .-= Andy Hayes´s last blog ..More Reasons Why You Need An Email Newsletter =-.

  3. Terreece Clarke Avatar

    Great post Andy, but what really cracked me up was the teddy.
    .-= Terreece Clarke´s last blog ..Popular Query Questions Answered! =-.

    1. Andy Hayes Avatar

      Ha – thanks Terreece – it is certainly one of those photos with “limited use” potential 🙂

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