A Sample Query Letter – that works!

on September 6, 2010 in Magazine Writing
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Crafting a winning query letter is not always a simple task. To make things worse, even if your letter is perfect there is no guarantee that it will lead to a job.

Over the years, I have sent hundreds of query letters. While they are all unique, they generally follow the same layout. Even though I urge you to create your own letters, I know that a little inspiration may be all that you need. For this reason, below is a sample that I have used to successfully land several gigs. This one was sent to a sports publication that was looking for both print and online writers.

Date

Editor’s Name
Managing Editor

Dear Editor’s Name:

I recently came across the online edition of your magazine. As a full-time freelance writer and former college basketball player, it immediately caught my eye.


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As you know, the game of women’s basketball is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States. Along with this has come an increase in the number of high school players who are hoping to continue their career in college.

I am writing to inquire whether Women’s Basketball Magazine would be interested in considering for publication a piece on how to obtain a college basketball scholarship.

By way of a brief biography, I received my bachelor’s degree in Journalism from La Roche College. A recent sports related project, Open your Heart with Basketball, was released by DreamTime Publishing in 2007.

Thank you for considering this idea. I am looking forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Sincerely,

Your Name
email address
phone number

As you can see, your query letters do not have to cover an entire page or be packed full of information. Something as simple as the above can help you land more work.

Thanks for sharing!
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Chris is a full-time freelance writer based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He specializes in web content, sales copy, and many other forms of writing. Chris has two books in print, as well as hundreds of articles in local and nationwide publications.

4 Comments

  1. Clare Lynch September 6, 2010 Reply

    Nice and to the point. However, if you’re sending this to eagle-eyed editors you may want to fix that dangling modifier in the second sentence!

  2. Rebecca September 6, 2010 Reply

    Thanks for the sample query letter! I wrote a couple of letters that may have been too long. I’ll try this format and see what happens. Of course, I have to find publications I want to write for :0)

  3. Ajeva September 6, 2010 Reply

    I love the way you write your query letter- short and simple. I think many are making the mistake of stuffing everything in a page and editors don’t have all the time in the world to read. I guess, people should think of their query or cover letter as an elevator pitch that can capture an editor’s eagle eye in a few sentences. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Dan Smith October 5, 2010 Reply

    Hi Chris,

    Just thought I’d let you know that I’ve been using this format for my queries lately and so far, so good.

    I expanded my idea for the feature a little more than you have done in your example, but all in all I kept the query concise and to the point.

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