Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Query Letters

When I first started learning about freelance writing, I discovered that in order to get my ideas to the editors, I had to write a query letter. A query letter is basically a note introducing your idea for an article or essay. That might sound pretty easy, but it's not. I really struggled with the first few. The blank Word document would stare back at me from the computer screen, waiting for me to fill it with my brilliant idea, and I had no idea where to start.

I think I have finally figured out what works for me. When I have an idea, I write it down - right away! Then, I let it grow in the back of my mind for a little while. When I have a better picture of what the article or essay will look like, I add some notes under the original idea. I talk about the piece with one or two people I trust, and then I write the first draft of the query as if I was sharing the idea with a dear friend. Everything pours out onto the screen openly and informally. I wait a day or two, clean it up and make it look professional, have a friend proof it for typos and then send it to the editor.

How do you approach query letters? And do you have a fear of writing them?

1 comment:

Catherine J Gardner said...

Query letters don't frighten me, but I abhor having to write a synopsis.