As-salamu Alaykum (peace be upon you), Dear Readers...

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Q&A: What is a Query?

Question (submitted via e-mail):

As salaamu alaykum (peace be upon you),

What does a query stand for? A magazine has responded to me and, unfortunately, I don't understand what a query really means?

Your help is appreciated.


As-salamu Alaykum, and thank you for asking this question.

When I was managing editor of Our Rising Star Magazine, we received many e-mails from people interested in writing for the magazine, but very few actual queries. Although our policy was to take every writer into consideration, the fact is that many magazines expect formal queries and might not respond to letters of introduction - so it is very important to learn the difference between the two.

In short, a query is a tightly focused letter that outlines a specific article you'd like to write for the publication. It starts with a hook (often the first paragraph of the proposed article), provides information about why the article is timely and relevant, and ends with some technical information, such as proposed word count and why you're qualified to write it.

Here are some examples:

Sample Query

How to Write a Query Letter

Sample Query Letters that Worked

How to Write a Winning Query Letter

How to Format the Perfect Pitch Letter

Also see: How to Write a Successful Query

Insha'Allah the above links will help demystify the query process.

Amel S. Abdullah

Do you have a question you’d like to see answered on this blog? Post it here, or send it to me via e-mail. All questions sent via e-mail will be posted anonymously (unless you request otherwise). Click here for an index of all questions answered on this blog.

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This blog is maintained by Amel Abdullah, a freelance writer, editor, and Arabic to English translator.