Magazine Writing: The Query Letter

Tuesday’s Writing Tips:

Portable MFA in Creative Writing: Magazine Writing

The Query Letter Part 1: 

The Query letter is like a sales tool. You’re trying to convince an editor that you have a good story for her magazine and that you’re the right person for the job. This is especially true for new writers. Some seasoned writers can use samples of their work to win over an editor.

Query letters must be focused and well-defined. It isn’t a mere observation, but you can use your observations to craft a story idea.

For example: If you observe a lot of people walking their dogs in a certain area of town, you may expand on this observation. Why do people gravitate toward certain breeds of dogs.

Query letters must be well-written and well-structured. The query letter should not contain mistakes, misspellings or poor sentence structure.

Query letters should be written in the style of the magazine to which they’re addressed. This is to show you’re familiar with the magazine. Often, you must be a chameleon rather than write in your own style.

Query letters shouldn’t leave much to the imagination. Explain what you’re writing about and be specific.

Query letters should be no longer than one page.

Next week we’ll focus on How to Write the Query Letter.

For now, here is the haiku of the day:

dove and grey skies haiku

Photo credit:


a melancholy sky
squabbles for attention—
warm, silky feathers

How many of you have had success writing a query letter?


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