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Query Letter, Part 1: Contact Info

Query.  A strange sounding word.  Webster defines it as “question.”  Writers send query letters to suggest ideas for stories or books, and there is an art to writing one (which I’ve yet to perfect).  Ideally, a query letter should be one page, which is difficult to manage when contact information seems to grow longer as technology advances.  Besides name, address, city, state, zip, and home phone, writers now include an email address or addresses, a web site, and a cell phone number.  Before you know it, the contact info has grown longer than a paragraph, wasting precious white space on that single page. 

 I started including my contact information in my letter’s header.  I found a cute little symbol in the character map program on my computer.  (Check out character map, found in Windows under accessories, system tools.  You’ll be surprised to find a large assortment of fonts, symbols, and even pictures that can be enlarged to whatever size you desire.)  Anyway, back to the subject.  After typing in all relevant contact information, I separate name, address, etc. with an unobtrusive mark and add a cute character for—character. 

 I make sure the font is not too large for the header, usually 10, but is still easy to read.  With the freed up space on one page, I can elaborate more on the hook, the meat of the proposed writing, and my credentials.  However, if I have a brief query, I prefer to put the contact info in the body of the letter so the letter doesn’t appear top heavy.  I’m all for a balanced look.

 I’m no expert on query letter writing.  Writers might disagree with me, but this is just a suggestion, similar to a query.

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