Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Writing Articles (Part 19 of 21)

Write a good query.

You can find a plethora of books and articles on how to write a query letter. I suggest you avoid them. I've read some of those supposedly can't-fail ideas and I wouldn't accept any of them. My basic query idea applies whether you write to agents or editors.

Here are two things you need to bear in mind:

* Keep the query brief.

* Make it a professional-looking business letter whether you use paper or email.

I suggest you write one paragraph that gives them your idea for a book or an article. Call it the elevator pitch, précis statement, or concept (the term I use). Don't give them a sales pitch such as, "This book will revolutionize the way people eat cereal." State your premise and let them make value judgments.

In the second paragraph tell them about yourself. Give them your background, education, experience, and your work or profession—anything that shows your credentials to write the article or book.

Your next paragraph reads: May I send you my article? If it's a book, you ask to send your book proposal. If you have completed your manuscript, you write: May I send you my proposal or my completed manuscript?

Query letters are simple sales pitches. Make no claims for what your article or book will do. Just tell them what it is.

My query letter is a business letter. 
It asks an editor to buy my product, 
and the editor probably knows the product better than I do.


  1. Short, sweet, and to the point. I like it.
    Thanks, Cec.

  2. Thank you Cecil. There is a lot of "Stuff" out there. Your site is always helpful.


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