"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Secrets to Making Your EQuery Stand Out Amid the Clutter

This is a guest post by Nikola Hartmann

Email queries are fast replacing those sent by surface mail. While some editors still prefer the traditional approach, many publications, especially those online, only accept digital.

It’s easy, cheap, and convenient for you to instantly send your submissions to just about any editor’s desk. A process that use to take what seemed like an eternity, now takes mere seconds. Editors like it too because they quickly determine if you have potential.
The good news is that writing a first rate query is not difficult. Especially once you know the winning format…

Think of your query like a sales letter. You’re selling yourself and your work. Use these tips to make sure your first impression isn’t a disaster!

Check the Writer’s Guidelines. This may seem silly to mention, but … then again, maybe not. Remember, not all publications accept e-queries; those that do post where to send them. It won’t do much good to send your proposal to Mary Clark in sales, if Mary Clarkson is in charge of submissions.

Subject Matters. Don’t leave this section blank! Your email will be deleted, unread. It’s best to lead with the word, “Query” followed by a three to four word description of your proposal; e.g. Query: New Skin Cancer Threat.

Keep it Classy. Got to love those bouncy emoticons and phonetic spellings. But this is not the time to show your “fun” side. The number one complaint of editors is that writers submit work riddled with grammatical and spelling errors. Make your spell checker your BFF. :-) Also, stick with time honored greetings and closings: Mr., Ms., Sincerely, Respectfully. You’re a professional. Make sure your work shows it.

Editor’s Choice. Again, this is not the place to show your personality nor write your dissertation. Editors like short, simple, and tight. Grab their attention with a killer hook; tell how you’re going to write the article, and what it covers. Seal the deal with two links to your work, then close with your signature block (name, address, phone, Email address, website).
Cyberspace makes it super easy to send your queries all over the globe. Just remember to check, check, and re-check your work before you click “send.”

What are your thoughts on e-queries? Love them, like them, or hate them?


  1. Hi Jen,

    Thanks so much for featuring my article! -Nikola

  2. Jennifer Brown BanksAugust 12, 2010 at 8:39 PM

    You're very welcome. Glad to see you back again.:-)

  3. Nikola and Jen,
    Great article! I agree, these are all key to success. I don't mind e-queries as long as I remember to note that I sent them.
    Have a great weekend, all!

  4. Jennifer Brown BanksAugust 13, 2010 at 6:35 PM

    Hi Karen,

    Thanks for your thoughts here. You have a great one as well!