Writing the Successful Query Letter

Writing a great query letter is essential.

A poorly written query tells an editor you’re an amateur. Don’t settle for less than your best.

Set yourself apart

A professional query letter calls for business etiquette. Don’t use elaborate stationery—no butterflies and rainbows. A simple letterhead with your contact information is sufficient.

Take the time to determine the correct editor to send your query to—and spell her name right.

What to include

Describe your topic in 25 words or fewer. Entice the editor to want to know more.

Next, prove you know her publication and market. Provide a projected word count and whether your manuscript is complete or when you expect to finish.

Then, tell the editor about yourself, particularly what makes you the right writer for this assignment. Provide a summary of your writing history, but be careful not to include too much.

Finally, thank the editor for her time.

Keep your query to one page and no more than four short paragraphs.

Above all, follow the publisher’s guidelines on the magazine’s website or in the Christian Writers’ Market Guide.

Be sure to let the Guild know when you’re published! We look forward to celebrating with you.

Danielle Grandinetti is a graduate of the Apprentice, Journeyman, and Craftsman courses. She has loved reading and writing since grade school and enjoys writing teen fiction and reading mystery, adventure, and historical novels.

Image credit: benchart / 123RF Stock Photo


    • Danielle says

      Hi Peter, Thank you for your question. The query principles are the same. However, be sure to be attentive to a publisher’s writers guidelines. Some publishers want a proposal instead of a query, some want a query first. Does that help?

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