Ten Tips For Writing A Proposal/Query Letter

  1. Give it a headline.

  2. Open with what will probably be your lead.

  3. Go on for two or three paragraphs, then describe how you'll cover the rest of the story.

  4. Include one paragraph each on: Why you are the right person to do the story, your background, and why this story is important for their readers.

  5. No more than a page and a half, single-spaced.

  6. You have to do enough research to write a convincing query, but not enough to write the story. You should know whom you want to interview, although you may or may not identify all these people in the proposal.

  7. You need an angle: low-fat diet for the pregnant woman; low-fat diet for the traveling executive.

  8. Include three clips.

  9. Read three issues of the magazine before you submit a query.

  10. Wait three weeks before calling the editor to ask what happened to your query, unless you specify this is a time-sensitive query.

Copyright 1996: ScienceWriters, Janice Hopkins Tanne.

Dec. 31, 1995