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Query Letter Part 3: The Body

Keeping in mind the ideal length of a query should be one page and the hook/opening is your first paragraph, the body of the query is usually three to five paragraphs.  Your goal is to convince the editor that your idea is unique and interesting, that it would mesh with the style of the publication and its readership.

In one or two paragraphs, detail the title and length of the proposed article.  Note the structure you’ll use—bullet points, narrative, anecdotal—to express your ideas.  Be certain to list a fact or two, if necessary, to corroborate your ideas, and reveal sources you’d interview for the article.  Mentioning flexibility on word count to suit the editor’s needs might help land the assignment.        

You want to reveal in your query enough information about your article to whet the editor’s appetite for more.  Don’t feel obligated to disclose every detail.  Hopefully, your brief, well-written query will tempt the editor to ask for more information or to offer you an assignment.  Treat the query like a job interview by maintaining a professional approach, and editors will perceive you as one who tends his work with care.  That will help you secure assignments.

 Next up: Summing up

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