Common Writing Challenges
A query letter requests access to a person or to information or seeks to persuade a reader to take some sort of action. A journalist may query a source about a public issue, for example, and subsequently ask for an interview. Writers and artists query publishers about interest in a book manuscript or other projects.
A letter that inquires about job openings is also a kind of query letter; these letters include brief information about an applicant, but a résumé is not included with a query letter.
Note that none of the sample query letters starts with “my name is. . . .”
• I'm writing to inquire about your research on the effect of pollutants on frogs.
• Congratulations on completing your hike of the Appalachian Trail. I am considering the same hike and am writing to ask if you would have time to meet with me to discuss your adventure.
• Mrs. Stevenson at General Publishing suggested I get in touch with you to see if you would be willing to let me interview you about the Hwy 61 bridge controversy.
• As a member of the team researching stem cell evolution at Columbia University, I am interested in similar research being conducted at the University of Hamburg.
• I have completed my sequel to Barbie's Parents, and I write to inquire whether you may be interested in reading sample chapters from the manuscript.
• I am writing to introduce myself and to inquire whether you would have time for me to meet with you to discuss how I can contribute to your research at Applied Grapheme, Inc.
In three weeks I will get certification in graphic design from South Western Community College, and I am writing to inquire about setting up an informational meeting with you at Fine Line Graphics.
The work that your company does with designs from other cultures fascinates me, as it has been a major interest of mine in my graphics program. I have applied designs from western Africa to magazine layouts, for example.
I know that this is a busy time for everyone at Fine Line Graphics. My schedule is very flexible, however, and I am happy to meet whenever it is convenient for you.
I will give you call at the end of the week with the hope that I can arrange an appointment.
Recently the county requested applicants for volunteer positions on the county's human rights board. This is something that interests me because of my background working with Reporters Across Borders, and now that I am retired I want to stay involved in a related area.
Please inform me of the application procedure. I would be happy if you sent me any necessary forms to complete.
My brother and I are planning a trip to Toronto in June and we want to take advantage of the opportunity to conduct some genealogical research while we are there. We will be there from Saturday the ninth until Friday the fifteenth.
From your writing, we know that you are an important source for information about immigrants from India in the Toronto area, and we wonder if you would be willing to spend an hour with us to discuss that topic and answer questions we have about prewar immigration to Canada as well. My brother and I are of Indian extraction and were born in New York.
We have included our e-mail contact in the event that we are unsuccessful in reaching you by phone by the end of next week.
With best regards,
On Friday, 3 August, the Midwest Publishers Association (MWPA) will celebrate the work of Helmut Feller with a talk by the author on diaspora Germans in Canada.
On the occasion of the author's visit and presentation, the MWPA board are inquiring whether the library would be willing to loan for the purpose of display at the presentation your framed photograph of German-Russian farmers. The photo is similar to one published in Feller's book German-Russians in Manitoba.
We would only need the work in the morning before the meeting, and it could be returned in the afternoon of the same day, probably between 3 and 5pm.
I will be following up with a phone call shortly.
I am a final-year student at Willkinson High School, and I am working on my graduation paper for the international baccalaureate (IB). This is very important to me because an IB may help me get accepted to my first-choice university.
I am writing to you with a request to allow me to interview you about the Battle of Little Big Horn. I understand that you are a scholar of the battle as well as a member of the Oglala Dakota Nation, and an interview with you would be an impressive source for my paper.
I would be able to meet you at your convenience, and I do not expect to take up more than 30 or 45 minutes of your time. I will be in touch by phone at the end of the week.
I noticed in your spring catalogue for community classes that you offer a basic course for graphics and related software for web design. However, I do not see a course for mobile devices, and I write to let you know that I could contribute to your program with a course that would fill that gap.
Graphics for mobile devices are my specialty. Since I finished my bachelor's degree in digital graphic arts, I have been heavily involved in designing for mobile phones and tablet computers, with two projects for manufacturers in Korea. Samples of my work are available on YouTube, and I have included the URL for those below.
I will try to reach you by phone early next week with the hope to discuss my proposal with you at your convenience.