Part III: Query
Ready, Aim, Query
Sending a Query
A query must have a good subject line, a few sentences about your topic and its significance to your field, and your contact information. Use a subject line that will capture the reader’s attention, and keep the body of your message short and compelling. By reading these few sentences, an editor should immediately think, "Yes, that’s something I want to know more about."
As any haiku poet will tell you, compressing meaning into a short space is a true art form.
See how it’s done with a sample query.
It may be tempting to send out your queries with a simple cut-and-paste approach. Use this process with caution, however. It’s too easy to hit "send" when you still have another editor’s name in the greeting (or some unique information in the body of the letter!!) The safest method of management is to keep a query template in a word processing file and use it as the basis for crafting your queries before copying the text to an email message.
What are the most common errors you see at the query stage?
Poor writing (difficulties communicating what the paper is discussing); more organization of the paper. The author needs to sell the paper in the writing.
-- Elizabeth Cooperman, peer reviewer