Whether you’re pitching an article or submitting a book proposal, your query letter—or your cover letter—needs to convince a publisher to keep reading. As you’re writing, remember that the reader will be tempted to check out and check Facebook. It’s your job to grab and keep a reader’s attention!
1. An effective query letter is concise.
Demonstrate you’re an effective communicator with the efficient use of words. (1 page!)
2. An effective query letter states your intention.
Be clear, up front, whether you’re pitching an article or looking for a publisher.
3. An effective query letter is personal.
Address your letter to a particular person. Has he or she represented or published something similar to your project? Make a meaningful connection with the recipient.
4. An effective query letter clearly identifies your premise.
What is the one thing this book or article aims to do? Clearly identify the singular unifying thesis.
5. An effective query letter identifies a reader’s felt need.
Why should this be published? What need does it meet? Who has this need? How will reader be helped?
6. An effective query letter captures and holds a reader’s attention.
Hook reader’s attention with colorful anecdote. Then, work to keep it.
7. An effective query letter communicates your competence.
Highlight the elements of your bio or resume most relevant to this project.
8. An effective query letter pulses with your passion.
Demonstrate your enthusiasm for this project.
9. An effective query letter balances confidence with humility.
Thank the reader for her/his time and offer your availability to discuss project further. Demonstrate humility and teachability.
10. An effective query letter is error-free.
It’s one page. Be fastidious.
Cheering you on,