- The straightforward lead jumps right into the topic with statements, contrasts, or quotes.
- The surprise opening could be a clever turn of a phrase, a startling statistic, or a shocking situation. Overplaying or overacting this hook could have a negative impact on the editor.
- Leading with a question can be tricky. What if the editor's first response is, "Who cares?" To use this opening, your answer must come quickly so the reader won't lose interest.
- Opening with your article's lead is good if you're selling reprints of something you've already written. Otherwise it's like thinking backwards, since the query is used to see if there is an interest in the topic.
- Starting with "why you" and "why now" will establish yourself as the right person to write on the topic. This works for specific stories, but is usually later in the letter.
- A complimentary comment about an article you read that the editor wrote is another trick to have in the ways you open your queries.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Six Ways to Open Your Query
The opening of your query letter should have all the impact of an article hook. Consider using a variety of techniques.