Top 7 Query Letter Mistakes Makes Writers Minds Explode

letter Q

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Dear Authors and Writers,

Are you in violation of making the top 7 query letter mistakes? If you are, don’t worry about it. We’ve all made these mistakes. Remember, you can’t change what you don’t know. The good news is outlined below are the top seven query letter mistakes you can avoid.

Top 7 Query Letter Mistakes

1. Addressing to a ‘phantom’ instead of real person. If you’ve addressed your query letter with Dear Sir, Dear Madam, To Whom It May Concern, or Dear Gentlemen, you committed violation #1. Most of the time, publications will list the names of editors, assistant editors, associate editors, and so on. If you don’t have a name, pick up the phone (I know) and call. Don’t worry, the phone is your friend.

2. Improper format. Do you use a ‘funky font’ instead of Arial, Times New Roman, or some other acceptable font? Do you use 14 pitch instead of 10 or 12? Alas, you may appreciate an off-beat font and large type but editors don’t. Use an acceptable font the next time you write a query letter.

3.  Improper margins. If you’re sending a query via snail mail or email (file), use 1″ margins. Sometimes, publications prefer you to copy and paste your query letter directly into the email which means you don’t have to use 1″ margins. However, if you’re allowed to send attachments, use 1″ margins.

4. Improper file extension. Believe it or not, sending a .docx file isn’t acceptable for all publications. Some still prefer .doc or .txt (text files). Read all of the guidelines before you submit a query letter with the incorrect file extension.

5. More than one page. A two-page query letter is usually frowned upon. Keep query letters to one page. Read and reread your query letter and edit.

6. Spelling mistakes and other errors. Proofread your query letter before you send it. Remember, spell check doesn’t catch all errors. Read sentences to make sure they make sense; correct punctuation You may consider having someone else proofread your query letter. Two pairs of eyes can be better than one!

7. Thanking the editor. Believe it or not, a “Thank You” goes a long way. Thank the editor for their time and consideration.



I know I addressed this blog post in a ‘generic or phantom manner,’ but I don’t know all of your names!


*Insulting the editor and publication. Don’t insult the editor and publication. This will guarantee your query letter will be filed — in the trash!

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  1. I would say point 1 & 4 are the most important ones.
    For point 4, I would advice to use txt file or PDF as many people use PDF files. But I hate docx myself because don’t want to switch to MS Office 2007.

  2. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! Many publications still use the .doc extension. I like to read and reread submission guidelines before I send out a query. Guidelines could change overnight; acceptable file extensions could be added and deleted.

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