While there’s no “winning formula” to writing excellent query letters, it’s good to see how published freelance writers pitch their article ideas. So, here’s a query letter I sent to MSN Health, which the editors accepted two days later.
How do you write a successful query letter? By getting to the point immediately.
“The most effective query letters get into the specifics from the very first line,” write the editors in Writer’s Market. “It’s important to remember that a query is a call to action, not a listing of features and benefits.”
Learn how to write query letters that sell articles by reading books like The Writers Digest Guide To Query Letters. Learn from successful writers, and create your own style.
Here’s an example of my query to the editors at MSN Health…
Query Letter Example for a Magazine Article – A Health Pitch
Dear (MSN Health Editor),
You might not think that tanning, spirituality, and nasal sprays have anything in common, but they do. They all contain qualities that can cause people to become addicted.
For instance, “tanorexia” is becoming increasingly common among university students – it’s an unhealthy dependence on or addiction to tanning, with withdrawal symptoms similar to alcohol and drug addictions.
In 1,000 words, this slideshow – tentatively titled “Solutions to Unusual Addictions” – will describe possible treatments for 10 uncommon addictions. I’ll cite psychologists, addictions counselors, and research studies to provide sound medical support and helpful information.
The possibilities include addictions to nasal spray, chewing gum, exercise, laxatives, health food (orthorexia nervosa), spirituality, reading, extreme sports, and shoplifting. As I research this topic and talk to the experts, I expect to find a few slightly different options.
Can I write this article – or a version of it – for MSN Health?
The Adventurous Writer
Quips & Tips for Achieving Your Goals
Quips & Tips for Successful Writers
(My email signature line has since changed! Now, I list all my ebooks.)
Tips for Writing Query Letters
I’ve written for the MSN Health editors before, so:
- I simply signed off as “Laurie”
- I didn’t need to mention my clips or where I’ve been published before.
- The query letter didn’t have to be long. I’ve learned that those editors prefer a brief description of my article ideas. In fact, they prefer short query letters because they save time and are easier to share with fellow editors.
- I ended with a question, or call to action. “Can I write this article for MSN Health?” (please please please please)
- I describe how I’ll obtain my information: I’ll cite psychologists, addictions counselors, etc.
To learn what happens after you sell the article, read When You Get a Freelance Writing Assignment – Steps for Writers.
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Fellow scribes, do you have any comments, suggestions, or questions about query letters or magazine articles? Post them below!