A Query Letter That Stands Out
Because most queries look and read the same, your query letter must stand out.
“Devise a scintillating title and subtitle for your idea in the style of the magazine you’re pitching,” says Wood. “Center it and boldface it right up front after your initial introductory paragraph. Use bullets, numbered lists, indented paragraphs, italics or even boxes to set off important elements. Don’t go overboard, but do something to make your letter stand out from the pack.
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“My former editor demanded that I do this whenever I proposed an idea to him because with a head and deck at the top of the page, he could envision instantly what it would look like in the magazine,” Wood explains. “I have used this technique ever since when approaching editors and agents, and have been told by more than one agent that my queries were the best they have ever seen.”
Your query letter should be no more than a page or a page and a half, and should contain a brief introduction as to why you’re writing that specific magazine. Mention your expertise or interest in your proposed topic, and include one or two ideas, presented in decks and heads. In your closing paragraph, briefly mention who you are, your publication credits and how you can be reached.
Include one or two clips of your writing, but only if your clips are similar to your proposed topic. There’s no point in sending a cooking article clip if you’re querying a travel article!