Improve Your Query Letters and Feature Articles – 5 Tips for Writers

These tips for improving your query letters and feature articles apply to writers working on novels, book proposals, and pitches to literary agents, too! You need to make your writing as memorable as possible…because the more memorable you are, the more likely you’ll succeed as a writer.

Here’s what one successful novelist says about memorable writing:

“Tell the readers a story!” says Anne McCaffrey, author of How to Write Irresistible Query Letters. “Because without a story, you are merely using words to prove you can string them together in logical sentences.”

Bring your writing and characters to life by telling stories — even if you’re pitching a feature article to an editor or your first novel to a literary agent. Memorable writers inspire emotions and create whole new worlds from sentences! To learn more about improving your query letters (which is the first step to success, read The Masterharper of Pern. And, here are five ways to make your queries and articles better…

Improve Your Query Letters and Feature Articles – 5 Tips for Writers

1. Picture your reader. Write directly to a specific reader, editor, or literary agent — picture him or her in your mind as you write. Whether you’re writing a feature article, book proposal, or first novel, your writing will be more memorable if you can tap into the reader’s psyche. How do you get to know your readers? Study the magazine’s demographics, the literary agent’s blog, the publisher’s current booklist.

2. Relate to your reader’s experience. “[A message] has to make the reader nod in acknowledgement or laugh in recognition,” writes HuffPost blogger Bob Creamer in The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging. “It needs to connect with the reader’s everyday experience.” He explains that memorable writing makes you feel, taste, smell, or hear the content…it’s the old “show, don’t tell” adage at work (it’s a cliché because it’s TRUE!).

3. Inspire an emotional reaction. To make your feature articles or characters more memorable, you need to inspire laughter, sadness, anger, disgust, fear, curiosity…anything, really! If your readers react emotionally, they’re more likely to remember you…and if your readers are editors or literary agents, they may be more likely to hire or woo you. This tip for writers is oft overlooked.

4. Let your personality shine through — free your writer’s voice. After a year of fulltime freelance writing, I’m finally letting my personality and writer’s voice bubble to the surface! One Reader’s Digest editor kept telling me to “have fun with it” when she assigned articles. I couldn’t forget her advice, even though I was too green to actually take it. Now, I’m letting my voice and style shine through in my articles, pitches, and blogs – and my writing is more memorable (and hopefully one day unforgettable! A lofty goal…).

5. Eliminate confusing thoughts or sentences. “If we don’t understand a subject or the relevance of what is being described in a subject, we begin to tune it out,” writes Creamer in The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging. If you don’t “get it” as a writer, you won’t be able to explain or describe it to your readers. And if they don’t understand — or if they’re confused — then your writing is not only forgettable it’s unreadable.

Sign up for my free weekly "She Blossoms" newsletter

One Blossom Tip a week. Short and sweet. You'll love it.

* indicates required

How do you make your feature articles, query letters, and writing in general more memorable? I welcome your comments below…

Laurie's "She Blossoms" Books

growing forward book laurie pawlik she blossoms
Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back offers hope, encouragement, and strength for women walking through loss. My Blossom Tips are fresh and practical - they stem from my own experiences with a schizophrenic mother, foster homes, a devastating family estrangement, and infertility.

letting go book laurie pawlik she blossoms

How to Let Go of Someone You Love: Powerful Secrets (and Practical Tips!) for Healing Your Heart is filled with comforting and healthy breakup advice. The Blossom Tips will help you loosen unhealthy attachments to the past, seal your heart with peace, and move forward with joy.

miss him book laurie pawlik she blossoms
When You Miss Him Like Crazy: 25 Lessons to Move You From Broken to Blossoming After a Breakup will help you refocus your life, re-create yourself, and start living fully again! Your spirit will rise and you'll blossom into who you were created to be.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 thoughts on “Improve Your Query Letters and Feature Articles – 5 Tips for Writers

  • Koya Sahab

    You have expressed yourself very well in a nut shell.

    I found answeres to a lot of questions that have been bugging my mind. I was nodding my head and smiling from cheek to cheek for I know what you are saying.

    I get that feed from some my readers soemtimesand I need to make it permanent feature of articles.

    Wonderful ! Highly recommneded for one.

  • Gini Grey

    Wonderful tips Laurie – I so appreciate you sharing your insights on writing. The tip about inspiring an emotional reaction is key for me as I love experiencing emotions when I read so I need to remember do that when I write.


    Gini Grey’s last blog post..Process

  • Tumblemoose

    Hi Laurie.

    I try to make things memorable by injecting my own brand of humor and by just being myself. I know my writing style is a tad unique, and I just let it flow from my fingers to the keys.

    I don’t want to be just like everyone else, I want to stand out a bit – but not WAY out, ’cause I’m not that kind of guy.

    Thanks for this list.


    Tumblemoose’s last blog post..Vanity plates writing prompts