Writing for Publication: The Query Letter


You’ve finished your writing, and now you’d like to be paid for your hard work.

Even though most writers are fantastic at writing, they have no idea how to market themselves.

How do you get your finished product into the right hands? How do you get published?

More importantly, how do you get paid?

The query letter is the simple answer to all of these questions. A well-crafted query letter can assist an unknown author’s first publication. Unfortunately, the flip side is often true as well. A poorly crafted query letter can dissuade an agent or editor from ever looking at your work.

Here are a few tips for writing your query letter to enable it to get into the right hands.

The Query Letter

1. Write the letter in the format of a business letter.

It is never acceptable to use slang or “text speak” in the body of the message.

2. Research your audience.

You should not send an article about airplanes to an editor at a parenting magazine.

Additionally, take some time to view a company’s website to see if they are accepting submissions. Unfortunately, too many good submissions go unnoticed because of bad timing.

A book such as Writer’s Digest is a great asset to a beginning writer.

Also, the Internet is an excellent resource for publisher’s names, addresses, and dates for submissions.

3. In the letter, explain your credentials.

If you’re a teacher who has written an article about educational strategies for preschool students, discuss a bit of your background and explain why you’re qualified.

4. Explain why the subject matters.

If you’re pitching a manuscript, explain to the acquisitions editor why your manuscript is different. Explain where the niche market might be.

5. Be succinct.

No one wants to read a ten-page explanation about your work. The idea is to get in, explain the relevance, hook the reader, and get out.

6. Be sure to leave your contact information.

In addition to your address, your phone number and email address are necessary. Essentially, it is for the agent/editor to communicate with you.

You should never send your manuscript or article off to an editor with an ill-prepared query letter.

At FirstEditing.com, professional editors can help you edit your query letter to perfection before you submit it, or even craft one for you as part of our after-editing services.

Our goal is to assist you in getting your work published. Why perfect your writing but not the letter to market your work? Let us help you with your query letter.

Originally posted 8/19/2010 and happily updated 10/29/2017. Thanks for reading!

Frequently Asked Questions

First Editing is equipped to edit ANY type of document you can write! Over the past 10 years, we’ve perfected tens of thousands of manuscripts, books, ebooks, theses, dissertations, essays, letters, websites, articles, scripts, business proposals, poetry, and more! Let us transform your draft into a perfectly edited masterpiece! Click HERE for a FREE sample edit and price quote…
Projects less than 50 pages are completed in just 2-3 business days. Longer documents (manuscripts, dissertations, etc.) require 7-10 business days depending on their length. If you order multiple documents totaling 50+ pages, they can all still be completed in the standard 3 day timeframe since each document may be assigned to a different editing team simultaneously. Additionally, 1-2 day rush services are also available. See our order form for more details.
Professional editors of successfully published books, journals, articles, and more are working around the clock to ensure your editing is letter-perfect and delivered according to your deadline. Each editor has a minimum of TEN years worth of professional writing & editing experience. Show us some of YOUR writing and we’ll send YOU a FREE editing sample!
First Editing is one of the very few online editing services that GUARANTEES client satisfaction! If there is ANYTHING about our work with which you are not 100% satisfied, we will correct it at no additional charge. First Editing is also the ONLY service of its kind to GUARANTEE on-time completion. We NEVER miss a deadline…EVER!! Read more about our Editing Satisfaction Guarantee.
Our basic rates vary from just 1 U.S. cent per word to just over 3 U.S. cents per word. Most basic copy editing that does not require rush delivery costs between $0.0097 and $0.013 USD per word (approximately one cent per word). Larger orders often cost even less. Factors influencing your total price are document type, length of manuscript, turnaround time required, & level of editing required. For a free, no-obligation price quote, CLICK HERE.

Share With :

Get a free editing sample outlining areas you need to fix before publishing. Discover what works!

Add Your Heading Text Here

Add Your Heading Text Here