Three Ways to Increase your Query Letter Response Rate

on November 1, 2010 in Marketing
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It is one thing to send a query letter. It is another entirely to receive an answer – good or bad. Remember this: just because you send a query does not mean the editor has to respond to you.

Here are three things you can do to increase your query letter response rate:

1. Address your letter to the right person. This is the number one detail to keep in mind. If you send your query to the wrong editor there is a very good chance that it will never reach the appropriate party. To ensure accuracy, do not shy away from calling the publication for clarification. Somebody should be able to tell you who send your letter to, as well as their physical or email address.

2. Don’t forget to include your contact information. As silly as it sounds, some writers construct the perfect query letter but forget to include their address, phone number, and email. You cannot expect an editor to follow-up based solely on your return address.

Tip: always include your phone and email address, along with your mailing address. This gives the editor more than one way to touch base with you.

3. Give them a reason to respond. If you send a “cookie cutter” query that is full of mistakes you should not expect the editor to respond. Along with this, suggesting articles that are off-topic for the publication will definitely kill your chances of a response. Make sure your query is intriguing, geared towards the publication, and of course, free of mistakes.

If your query letter response rate is suffering, consider the three details above.

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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.

3 Comments

  1. Carol Tice November 1, 2010 Reply

    Writers sending email queries should note that it’s a quirk of many email programs that if you print out an email, it does not include the header with your email address! Be sure to put it below your name in your signature, in the body of the email.

    Or an editor may blithely print out your query and toss it in an idea file, only to take it out a couple months later and realize they have no way to contact you.

  2. Rebecca November 1, 2010 Reply

    Great tips! I sent out three query letters to literary agents and am following their submission guidelines. Agents and publications have different submission guidelines and it’s important to follow them exactly.

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