The Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway 2009, Day Nine

The Writer's Digest Guide to Query Letters by Wendy Burt-ThomasWelcome to day nine of the third annual Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway. How cool is this year’s giveaway? Pretty darn cool, right?

Do you want a reference book on query letters that’s not only informative, but actually funny? Then The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters (Jan. 2009, Writer’s Digest Books) is for you!

Anyone who’s researched the marketplace knows: The path to publication begins with your query letter. If your query is weak, unfocused, or uninspired, an editor or agent won’t even bother to request your article, novel manuscript, or nonfiction book proposal. But a well-crafted, compelling query sent to the right editor or agent is an essential sales tool for fiction writers and the most effective way for nonfiction writers to pre-sell your idea.

In this book, professional freelance writer and magazine editor Wendy Burt-Thomas shares practical advice on how to craft persuasive letters that connect with editors and agents and ultimately generate sales for you. You’ll learn how to:

• Conduct targeted research to find suitable editors and agents

• Hook an editor with a tantalizing lead and shape a summary that compels editors to buy

• Select the strongest slant for your book or article

• Use research and interview shortcuts that keep your query prep profitable

• Make your query rejection-proof by weeding out subtle mistakes that can sabotage your project

• Communicate your author platform and sell yourself as the best writer for the subject

Complete with dozens of sample queries – some that landed article assignments, agents, or book deals, and others that never stood a chance – this book offers you a comprehensive strategy for presenting your writing ideas in a way that will increase your chances of publication. Though the title may lead some to believe it’s strictly to be shelved as a reference manual, The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters is a smooth read from cover to cover.

Wendy Burt ThomasAuthor Bio:

Wendy Burt-Thomas is a full-time freelance writer, editor and publishing coach with more than 1,000 published articles, reviews, stories, essays, greeting cards and four books. Her third book, The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters (Jan. 2009, Writer’s Digest Books) is now available in most major bookstores next to “The Writer’s Market.” She regularly posts countless writing contests and author interviews on her blog, Ask Wendy – The Query Queen.

If you are new to the giveaway, please read “Da Rules.”

Today’s question is…

When I say, “query letter,” you think…what?

When I say, “query letter,” you feel…how?

When I say, query letter,” you believe…what?

Give me the goods in 50-200 words, please. 🙂

Before you go! WE HAVE A CAUSE TO RAISE MONEY FOR THIS YEAR! Please read the story about the Applin family here and consider  making a small contribution at some point during the giveaway. We’re aiming for $100/day collectively. Please help us help the Applin family adopt two beautiful children from Russia. 🙂

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51 Responses to “The Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway 2009, Day Nine”


  1. 1 Michelle Mach September 9, 2009 at 6:22 am

    I think . . .
    Query letter = queued-up letter
    I imagine all these orderly letters marching into the editor’s email inbox. So many letters! Will mine stand out in the right way?

    I feel . . .
    Query letter = quivery letter
    That’s the feeling in my stomach: hopeful, excited, nervous. Anything could happen! It’s best if I don’t dwell on it too much after I press the send button or I won’t be able to eat. (I can see it now . . .”The Query Letter Diet.”)

    I believe . . .
    Query letter = qwerty letter
    That first line of the keyboard (Q,W,E,R,T,Y) is just the beginning of all the wonderful articles, stories, essays, and books that could come out of your writing time. This query letter isn’t the end. It’s the beginning!

  2. 2 Stephanie Y September 9, 2009 at 6:44 am

    When you say, “query letter,” I think “difficult!”

    When you say, “query letter,” I feel nervous and a bit inadequate.

    When you say, query letter,” I believe they are very important.

    I didn’t used to feel this way. Once upon a time I felt like query letters were my strong point. Two kids and four years later the thought of writing one is part of what is stopping me from trying to get some of my ideas published.

    I would love to win this book and brush up on my query writing skills.

    Thank you Writer Mama!

  3. 3 Renee Roberson September 9, 2009 at 7:08 am

    I think query letters are an art form all their own, and it takes a lot of practice to perfect a saleable query.I also think every editor looks for different components when judging how good a query letter is, depending on that editor’s specific needs and personality.
    I feel anxious every time I sit down to start a new query, and I always let little details make me second guess my crafting skills. Did I study the publication good enough? Am I sending this to the appropriate editor? How many queries does this editor get each day? Is this editor going to instantly spot an error and hit the delete button?
    I believe in studying a lot of different query letters in order to find my own unique formula that fits with my talents. And no matter what, always get someone else (spouse, writing buddy, friend, mentor) to proof a query before you send it out. You could have looked over your query 100 times, but hand it over to a person to proof for errors and you’ll realize you used your instead of “you’re” within about five minutes. No, I’m not speaking from personal experience at all!

  4. 4 Fawn September 9, 2009 at 7:22 am

    As someone who is just getting started as a freelancer, I have zero experience with query letters. I think that a query litter is similar to a cover letter on a resume, only more informative. With a background in technical writing, I don’t feel especially worried about writing query letters, but that’s easy to say since I haven’t written any. I know it is something that I will do soon, and I think I will be happy when I write my first one, as I believe it is an important step on my way to becoming a legitimate freelancer.

  5. 5 Marcia C September 9, 2009 at 7:27 am

    When you say, “query letter,” I think it can be good way to find out first if an editor is interested in an article (or even a book) before I take the time to write it. However, if the article or book is already written, then I think it’s a waste of time to write a query letter. I’d just rather send the completed product and let it speak on its own.

    When you say, “query letter,” I feel nervous, like almost everyone probably does. I have to make every word count in this query, and that’s scary. It’s my one chance to make an impression, and I’m afraid I’m going to blow it. Also, I’m not much of a salesperson.

    When you say, query letter,” I believe most editors and agents spend less than a minute looking at each one.

  6. 6 Jan Udlock September 9, 2009 at 7:27 am

    As a newbie who hasn’t tackled query letters, I think I want the book! When I think of query letters, I think of a well-sculpted art creation that takes a lot of work. What do I feel when I hear the word, is my heart racing? Could I really do this? Why can’t I? What I must believe when I hear the word is transition and education. Five months ago I was not a published writer. I am now because of work, education, encouragement and change. Will I get to the point of trying queries? I will. I know I will. I have to stop comparing myself to the many gifted writers on this site and try it for myself.
    Jan

  7. 7 Janel September 9, 2009 at 7:53 am

    I think great query letters can advance your writing career. If you pay close attention to what the publication is asking for and convey that through the letter then you have a good chance at getting your foot in the door.

    I feel pretty comfortable writing queries in the niche market where I have been previously published. I am extremely nervous about writing queries to editors in other markets.

    I believe that you need to take your time to edit and rewrite queries. If you are sloppy or confusing then you will never give your submission a chance.

  8. 8 Carol McLennan September 9, 2009 at 8:19 am

    When you say “query letter”, I think of words, sentences, paragraphs — artfully crafted, meticulously culled, deceptively casual; buried beneath the others in a tray on the desk of a busy person in a busy office in a busy skyscraper in a busy city. When you say “query letter”, I feel the nervous, hopeful internal churnings of a patiently waiting wallflower. Strained smile, pleading eyes. “Please ask me to dance.” Hoping to be seen as beautiful, or pretty enough, at least, to be embraced and guided effortlessly among the dancers beneath the twinkling lights. Fear tempers that hope; fear of a quick once-over and the withering experience of watching the backs of dancers swirl by, while the music plays on. When you say “query letter”, I believe my time to dance will come, after I’ve bravely sent many ink-sweat letters to the faceless, busy people in the colonized cubicles of monolithic places. But first, I must write the first one.

  9. 9 Cara Holman September 9, 2009 at 8:30 am

    When you say, “query letter”, I think of all those poor query letters sitting in a pile on some editor’s desk, hoping to be the one that will catch the editor’s eye.

    When you say, “query letter”, I feel determined to make mine catchy enough to stand out.

    When you say, “query letter”, I believe that there is no exact formula for creating just the perfect combination of words that will say to an editor “Stop: you need read no further than this one”. Crafting the perfect query letter is an art. Like anything else in life worth pursuing, it takes continual practice, and an abiding belief in your own worth as a writer.

  10. 10 Meryl Evans September 9, 2009 at 8:42 am

    When you say, “query letter,” I think it’s very time consuming to create one that stands out in an editor’s inbox. I prefer to build relationships while working on current assignments.

    When you say, “query letter,” I feel nervous and forget about it because it can take a long time before you hear back.

    When you say, “query letter,” I believe my time is better spent on business writing as the competition for print writing is very high.

  11. 11 Joanna September 9, 2009 at 8:49 am

    When you say query letter, I think yep, gotta know how to write these things. But dang, how to get them noticed?

    When you say query letter, I feel excited by the possibilities. Also overwhelmed by the amount of research, sometimes as much as the final article. But if it gets accepted, then much of your work is already done.

    When you say query letter, I believe anyone can write a good one. I believe–I have to believe–a good query will get noticed. Just a question of timing, topic, and style. I also believe the process takes time, and you have to stick with it. You will succeed. But you can’t avoid query letters.

  12. 12 Cheryl M September 9, 2009 at 9:01 am

    I believe I will eventually have a successful query letter. I think I should have 3-5 in circulation at any time, but I have not made it up to that. And, does it count as in circulation if a magazine never replies? I feel like I can write a decent query letter so I don’t know why mine are not successful. Maybe I need this book!

  13. 13 Brianne A September 9, 2009 at 9:08 am

    When you say “query letter,”

    I think that writing one is a science. I have to make sure that I get it right and keep it interesting enough to hold the attention of the person reading it. I think it has a lot to do with making or breaking a career.

    I feel slightly overwhelmed and nervous, having never written one. I also feel that I have the skills to sell my work through a query letter. With research and practice on the art of the query letter, I feel confident that I will be able to write them very well.

    I believe that it will take some time to get this step down, but I also believe in myself and know that it’s just another step on my path to becoming a professional writer.

  14. 14 Beth Cato September 9, 2009 at 9:51 am

    I already own this book and think it’s wonderful!

    “When I say, “query letter,” you think…what?”
    That’s it’s a vital piece of paper towards selling my novel.

    “When I say, “query letter,” you feel…how?”
    Determined. I’m getting better at writing query letters, and even won partial submission in a recent query contest. I still need to improve, though. A lot.

    “When I say, query letter,” you believe…what?”
    I believe they serve a purpose. I’ve read a lot of queries and novel samples online, and odds are, if the query is poor the novel is, too. That said, queries are very intimidating, especially when it comes down to capturing voice.

  15. 15 Brandy September 9, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Regarding Query Letters:
    I think, “Why, Why, Why, for the love must I write a query letter too?!”
    I feel early onset hot flashes. Self-Doubt about my work. Overwhelming inadequacy. Intimidation. Lost as sea. Ill-prepared to write one well. Reasons to keep working on my writing piece so that I do not have to resort to writing the aforementioned query letter. If my work isn’t done, then I don’t have to query anything yet.
    I believe in the value of the query letter, and I know I must write them, but starting one is half the battle, and that is a battle I haven’t engaged in yet.

  16. 16 Heather September 9, 2009 at 10:16 am

    When you say “query letter” I think “uh oh”

    When ou say “query letter” I feel a little overwhelmed and know I need to learn more about writing them.

    When you say “query letter” I believe that unless I write a query letter that catches a persons interest I will not get my article read, even if it is a well done article or book. I believe they are a lot like a cover letter for your resume. If you don’t say the right things in the query letter or cover letter, no matter how perfect you are for the job, you won’t get past the circular file.

    I look forward to reading this book and even if I don’t win it I will purchase it so I will get past the circular file. :0)

  17. 17 Susan Heim September 9, 2009 at 10:17 am

    When I say, “query letter,” you think…make it short and to-the-point.

    When I say, “query letter,” you feel…like this is the only time to make a great first-impression, so it better be good.

    When I say, query letter,” you believe…it’s got to grab the editor from the first line, or she won’t care to see your proposal.

  18. 18 Tonja September 9, 2009 at 10:28 am

    “Query letter” – I think…
    this is the thing that will make the most difference. Who cares whether I’ve got a great concept and spent countless hours making my manuscript perfect? If the reader cannot be impressed by a well-written and exciting query letter, nothing else will matter.

    “Query letter” – I feel….
    overwhelmed; in order to make a good impression it must be tailored to each publisher’s needs. How can I possibly find time to make each one as perfect as my manuscript should be?

    “Query letter” = I believe…..
    all it takes is the right letter in front of the right person at the right time. If I master that, I am invincible.

  19. 19 Carrie Ure September 9, 2009 at 10:34 am

    When I hear the term “query letter” my writer’s brain thinks about all the ways I might construct good ones to get my message across, grab editors’ attention and get assignments. I have lots of information thanks to Christina and the author/experts she recommends. I know where to look for guidelines, examples and help when the moment comes to write my first one.

    How I feel, often, is overwhelmed. There are so many steps to process and new skills to learn. When I feel overwhelmed I have learned to slow down and take things a step at a time. I have learned to expect progress not perfection, and to enjoy the process of each new step. I feel excited about writing my first query letter and following up with many more in the coming weeks, months and years.

    I believe that I have a good shot at having a successful writing career and that writing good query letters is one of the most important skills I can nurture. Bring it on!

  20. 20 Pat September 9, 2009 at 11:20 am

    The query letter subject is not something I’ve thought about except in passing…sort of “Yeah, well, that’s one of those things I’ll need to figure out when I need to do one”.

    So truthfully , I think about it the same way Scarlett O’Hara used to think about her problems…tomorrow.

    My feelings on query letters are all surface level. They’re darn useful things. Yep, there’s a reason to have them around, alright, I guess…when necessary.

    I believe query letters belong on my computer with nice neat blanks for me to fill in…one of these days.

    Overall theme is this. I pretty much don’t think about query letters at all. Perhaps I should begin.

  21. 21 writerinspired September 9, 2009 at 11:20 am

    When you say “query letter” I think of The Bachelor. All those girls (writers) vying for the bachelor’s (editor’s) attention and approval (acceptance & byline.) The words “query letter” make me feel anxious, as I would any time I’m about to give a first impression. However, I believe query letters are a learned skill and are a required type of writing, no matter your niche or platform. We all need to practice writing in our genre and that practice includes the crafting of eye-catching query letters.

  22. 22 Victoria Dixon September 9, 2009 at 11:26 am

    I think: Why must I write one? If you want to experience pain, suffering and passion, read my book. It’s cathartic, not my query letter. I feel annoyed because the letter gets no response from agents who are too busy to hire e-mail handling assistants. I believe my book will be agented by someone who sees the value in my novel’s subject matter, not the quality of my letter, which is nonetheless strong. Sorry I sound pissed today. Hopefully it’s hormonal!

  23. 23 Krysten H September 9, 2009 at 11:35 am

    When I heard the words, “query letter,’ I think how to sum up my story easily while still making it interesting. I feel a bit anxious since I’m never quite sure what to put in and leave out. If I make it too short does it loose personality, if it’s too long does it look like I can’t get to the point? And what I believe when I hear those words would have to believe that sooner or later someone will see some merit in mine 😉

  24. 24 Lisa S. September 9, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    When you say query letter I think how do I write one that will stand out to an editor? Is my idea good enough, my letter well crafted? What does the editor think about my letter and ideas? Has it even been read?

    When you say query letter I feel nervous, nervous, nervous.

    When you say query letter I believe they are vitally important. So I push back all the emotions and plow ahead, with the belief that one day mine will be read.

  25. 25 SAHMami September 9, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    When you say Query Letter:

    I think-How do you write one? When do you submit one? Do I need a completed manuscript? Why am I not writing right now?

    I feel-Intimidated. Having never seen a query letter, I am not even sure where to begin.

    I believe-that it is necessary to get published. And that I need to get working because not writing during nap time means not writing at all today.

  26. 26 Mominator September 9, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    When you say query letter, I think what am I doing here? Can I possibly make it? Yes, yes I can!

    When you say query letter, I think how could I have gotten this far, just to end up…where? I think, I got this far through creativity, perseverance, talent and guts. Yes baby, I am going places!

    When you say query letter, I believe I will go about it my own way, the force of my personality, the brightness of my being!

  27. 27 Fun Mama - Deanna September 9, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    When you say, “query letter,” I think I need to work on this skill so I have the confidence to submit for publication.

    When you say, “query letter,” I feel overwhelmed by the necessity of the letter and the desire to have mine stand out.

    When you say, query letter,” I believe that I can learn this skill and be successful.

  28. 28 Dawn Herring September 9, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    When you say, “Query letter,” I think about all the sample query letters I’ve read, ones that never seem to hit the mark I’m attempting to hit.
    When you say, “Query letter,” I feel compelled to take action to build my platform so my credentials line up with the presentation I make in the query.
    When you say, “Query letter,” I believe when the time is right, and I have just the right topic and passion to write about that topic, I will find the appropriate place to send that query letter, and it will be a rousing success.

  29. 29 Carol J. Alexander September 9, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    When I think query, I think of Queen Esther. When notified of the plight of the Jewish people, she resolved to petition the king. She spent three days preparing to make her request. When I prepare a query, I spend time on it. I also address an editor as though he were the king. I feel apprehensive. I believe Esther felt the same as she knew that approaching the king without an invitation could mean death. And yet, she felt strongly about what she believed would be the right thing to do. I, too, feel strongly that the article that I want to write is appropriate and relevant for the editor I am approaching. Esther said, “so will I go in unto the king…and if I perish, I perish.” Maybe an editor will accept my proposal. Or, maybe I will perish!

  30. 30 writethejourney September 9, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Query letters…
    I think time-consuming. (I know a good dose of research/pre-interviewing can make a query shine.)
    I feel intimidated. (I’ve written just one–I got the assignment. But coming up with ideas to pitch leaves me feeling like a blank slate.)
    I believe it’s a task I can learn and master. (I just need to practice, practice, practice.)

  31. 31 Kathryn Lang September 9, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Ode to the Query Letter

    We first met in the perfect “never do this” moment.
    I felt the rejection for days.
    We expanded our relationship with a new and improved edition.
    The rejection continued but it was softer and easier to handle.
    We continue to grow and relate to one another.
    The rejection happens
    But there are those few moments of delight mixed in as well.

    The Query Letter is that one tool that each writer seems to never perfect but that the same writer occasionally manages to use to unlock pieces of perfection that will provide the motivation to write one more day.

  32. 32 Melissa Taylor September 9, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    When I say, “query letter,” you think…what?
    Query letter sends me into research mode. I’m thinking, what’s my hook, who or what are my sources, and who the heck do I send it. Planning, plotting and scheming best describe my thinking.

    When I say, “query letter,” you feel…how?
    Honestly, query letters make me feel dread – they take me forever to craft and then I’m never totally satisfied. Even when I’ve finished the last draft of the letter, finding the right editor consumes a remarkable amount of time. Ugg.

    When I say, query letter,” you believe…what?
    I believe in the theory of probability — at some point, after so many query letters – ten, a hundred, I don’t know . . ., there will be a tipping point and I’ll get a yes . . . or at least noticed enough to get a rejection. I think persistence is essential.

  33. 33 Kelli @ writing the waves September 9, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Dear Query,

    I know we have met a few times before, but you still strike me as somewhat of a mystery. I’ve written several cover letters in my day, but none intimidate me quite the way that you do.

    Maybe my trepidation is due to the fact that your composition has been referred to as an “art”. Maybe it is because you are the very first thing that editors lay their eyes on. Maybe it is because I am relying on YOU to spark the editor’s interest and convince her/him to even take the time to even read my actual submission!

    I do believe if I make a better effort to learn more about you (possibly read a guide by expert such as Wendy Burt-Thomas!), I will feel less intimidated and MORE motivated to send you on out there into the world and let you work your magic…with fingers tightly crossed, of course!

    Sincerely,
    Kelli Perkins

  34. 34 Joyce Lansky September 9, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    When I say, “query letter,” you think…what?

    Actually, it reminds me of the old cheer leading chant, but I don’t feel like cheering. To be honest, I hate them and wish agents and editors would just look at my work. Unfortunately, query letters are a necessary evil like death and taxes, so today’s contest is especially important to me as an unpublished author who must learn how to play the game.

    So here’s a rah! rah!

  35. 35 Cat September 9, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    When you say query letter, I think, I’ll figure that out later . . . because it’s going to be difficult, and it’ll take a lot of time to get it right.

    When you say query letter, I feel intimidated and ready to procrastinate. I worry, because I know I’ve got to get over my nerves.

    When you say query letter, I believe that I’ve got overcome this fear, see it as another skill, and go get that skill.

  36. 36 Amy Simon September 9, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    When I hear “query letter”, I think “Ugh! Why can’t I just write the blasted article and let you read that?!”

    I feel a bit frustrated and annoyed that I have to create another piece of writing to sell an article.

    I believe that I have less of a chance of landing the article than if they just let me send the thing. I also believe the whole process will taken even longer than it usually does.

    There you have it! My $.02 on query letters!

    Amy

  37. 37 Kathy Bitely September 9, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    When I hear “queary letter” I think “Finally, I have something finished enough to send off!” Or “When will I ever have something finished enough to send off!”
    When I hear “queary letter” I feel hopeful and pretty darn excited. It means anticipation and worry and trying not to get may hopes up if the results are delayed.
    When I hear “queary letter” I believe I need to polish off the next piece and keep the cycle going. I believe each time I will something more and just keep improving.
    I THINK these are fun, I FEEL happy doing them, I BELIEVE I just might win one of these times!

  38. 38 Mar Junge, c3PR September 9, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    When you say, “query letter,” I think who/what/when/where/why?
    When you say, “query letter,” I feel excited at the possibilities.
    When you say, query letter,” I believe it will generate income.

    Writermamas…if you don’t think/feel/believe in query letters, you must change your mindset. I don’t ever send written query letters. I do query emails — dozens of them every day. In fact, one of the account manager’s jobs is to brainstorm article ideas, check the media calendars for a good fit and dash off an email to the editor about why the readers of that particular publication will be very interested in the article we are proposing. The most successful queries point out clearly and succinctly exactly what the readers’ pain (problem) is and how this article provides a solution. If we don’t get a response that week, we follow up with a polite phone call.

    Writing good queries can be learned. But if in your heart you don’t believe that your article or book deserves to be published, you’ll never convince an editor. They can sense indecisiveness and hesitation in the subject line.

  39. 39 Pam Maynard September 9, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    When you say, “query letter,” I think, what to say first? What can I use for an attention grabbing sentence that will make the editor want to read more? I think and think and think!

    When you say, “query letter,” I feel frustrated. I know what I need to say, just can’t quite get it out the right way. I feel nervous that I’ve left something out or addressed it to the wrong person. I feel excited that it may be so great I’ll get my dream job!

    When you say, query letter,” I believe that I can write a decent query letter that will get me an assignment. I believe I can do it, I just need to make the time to do it. I believe I can do anything with God’s help!

  40. 40 Lorraine Wilde September 9, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    When I say, “query letter,” you think…
    please, please, please, please don’t reject me.

    When I say, “query letter,” you feel…anxious about how many times one should rewrite a single page before giving up!!!!!!

    When I say, query letter,” you believe…that my work willlll get published, I just need to find the right fit.

  41. 41 Kim Klugh September 9, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    When I say query letter, you think. . .ahh, the little arrows of well chosen prose crafted from my writing quiver, shot ahead as the preview of my piece, targeting my purpose and convincing an editor to consider my submission.

    When I say query letter, you feel. . .somewhat queasy and quite challenged. What quantity of my article should I include in the query? How much do I reveal? How much is too much and how little is not enough? Am I killing my chances for publication due to the contents of this one brief letter?

    When I say query letter, you believe. . .we writers must dismiss our qualms, wipe the quizzical looks from our faces and forge ahead through the query quagmire.

  42. 42 Katrina Baxter September 9, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    When you say, “query letter,” I think “opportunity.” The opportunity to present my idea to a new editor and, hopefully, establish another successful working relationship. The opportunity to reinforce with an editor I write for regularly why she gave me a chance in the first place. The opportunity to present a compelling story I feel strongly about.

    When you say, “query letter,” I feel excited about the opportunity, impatient with the waiting, and nervous about the results.

    When you say, query letter,” I believe this is it! This is the one! The perfect idea at the perfect time! (Good thing I have the waiting to bring me back to reality.)

  43. 43 Cathy Welch September 9, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    I have never written an official query letter, but have read many articles and book sections about them and am planning to work on my first one within the next two weeks. Working in the field of grant writing, I equate a query letter (when I think or hear about one) with a grant proposal/application. You’re putting your best foot forward, selling yourself in a way just as a grant proposal or letter of inquiry does. You want to highlight your most attractive assets and market yourself to the niche you are trying to win over. When I hear query letter I believe it is the first and most critical step in the article marketing process except of course your actual writing skill.

  44. 44 Stephanie C. September 9, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    When you say query letter, I think that it is harder to write than the actual article. I don’t know why. It’s scarier I guess.

    I feel anxious because I know it’s like a cover letter, resume, and interview to the editor in one short letter. Yikes.

    I believe that if I get over my fear and rest in my skills and talents as a writer, I might be able to get the job. I just need stop letting the fear of query get in my way of the job.

  45. 45 karen k September 9, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    you think…it sounds like a letter that an IRS computer spits out thanking you, but stating please and by no means ever, ever again use the number of spots on your dalmation to determine your adjusted gross income.

    you feel…heavy, flumoxed, put out, and a pinch t’d off because I have to prove myself every darn time I hit the send button.

    you believe…that I have a fighing chance because pratice makes well, you know, and relieved that I took pitching practice and took all your advice to heart.

  46. 46 fringlerfilms September 9, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    I think of a trampoline. Can I weave the fabric tight enough, and build the structure well enough, and get my query to soar creatively into the editor’s brain. To stick there, or turn a somersault there, or otherwise be of interest.

    I feel like the query is never done, can always be better. So after a few read and set aside episodes, I just have to send it. Then I feel accomplished. For about a minute and a half, then I start worrying a little that I didn’t do my job with it well enough. And then of course, it’s the waiting game.

    I believe that sometimes the editor’s response has nothing to do with how well I wrote the query or even how good a fit the idea is for the publication. There’s a lot of luck, or at least aspects I can’t control, involved. But I do believe hard work and multiple queries increase the chances that the luck might also be there.

  47. 47 Kristen R Murphy September 9, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    When I say, “query letter,” you think…what?

    Oh, my! How do I get started? I really need a book to refer to! As a beginner, I need to learn whatever I can about querying.

    When I say, “query letter,” you feel…how?

    I feel nervous and anxious at the same time about starting one.

    When I say, query letter,” you believe…what?

    It must be done! I believe they are important for every writer to get their work out there. A query must show capability, confidence, and a damn good idea.

  48. 48 chloe September 9, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    I think: research the magazine, or the publisher. Read pieces of the same genre as the one I am trying to sell in that publication. What is the best way to represent my work and sell it. Get friends to read and review until I am completely satisfied.

    I feel: anxious, hopeful

    I believe: if I spent the time on the letter, not rush it, it will be fine,(even if rejected).

  49. 49 kmcdade September 9, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    I think about getting more work. I know this is the way to do it, and I know that I need to do it more often.

    I feel apprehensive, although I’m not sure why. What bad thing is going to happen to me if I write a query letter?

    I believe I can write it, but I’m not so sure about landing the assignment!

  50. 50 Sarah @ Baby Steps September 9, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    When you say, “query letter,” I think that it is an art that I am still learning to master, and one that is vital to the success of my career.

    When you say, “query letter,” I feel a mixture of anxiety and excitement…and also feel a tad bit inadequate.

    When you say, query letter,” I believe that practice makes perfect…so I will eventually (after much research, hard work, and dedication) find my rhythm and be able to craft some good queries.


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