This week I’ll share how to handle an email query professionally. But before I start let me give you difference between a QUERY LETTER and a COVER LETTER.
A QUERY Letter is a letter inquiring (where the word query comes from) if there is an interest in an idea you have. It can be an idea for a devotion, an article, blog post, book, almost anything.
After you've received a positive response and an invitation to send either the completed idea or more information, you will preface your submission with a COVER Letter. Next week I'll share how to format a cover letter and proposal correctly.
Now back to Query Letters!
Ten years ago, virtually all submissions were handled through snail mail (that’s with an envelope and a stamp). Now they take place through the Internet. There are good things about that—the time factor has improved slightly. And not so good things—with formal letter writing obsolete, it’s hard to know how to present yourself as a professional without appearing to be part of the Stone Age.
This is the correspondence used when you're INQUIRING about an assignment (this applies to both non-fiction and fiction, short and long). Even though you aren’t typing this on a real piece of paper, it’s important not to forget everything you learned.
- Include all your contact information at the top of the email.
- Use a polite salutation (like Dear Mr. Jessup).
- Make certain you have the correct name.
- Keep your correspondence focused and sharp.
- End politely (Thank you for your consideration).
- Just because you don’t have a specific page length in an email, keep it as short as one typewritten page. Being long winded won’t get you a job. All editors are incredibly busy and don’t have time to read long dissertations.
- Do not expect an editor to take time to click on a link. What I’m talking about are links to online portfolios or your personal website. It is fine to let the editor know that you can send them links to articles that have been published (these are known as clips). But unless requested, don’t assume they have time to visit web pages to see if you can write. That is part of the purpose of this correspondence. As a part of your ending signature it is acceptable to include a personal link or two.
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