Careers in Culture – Careers in Writing and Publishing

> Query letters

The query letter is a strategy that many freelance writers use to interest a literary agent or editor at a newspaper, magazine or publishing house in their ideas and work. Generally, agents and editors are busy and don’t have time to read manuscripts or articles from people they don’t know. They prefer a one-page letter that quickly tells them the writer’s idea and credentials.

Query Letter Tips:

Make sure your idea for an article or book is new or hasn’t been written about recently. Check back issues of magazines and your library bookshelves.

  • If you are interested in writing for a specific publication, know its focus and readership.
  • Don’t oversell yourself in a query letter. Explain what you want to do and describe your experience clearly.
  • Send samples of your published work.
  • Don’t send letters of recommendation.