If you’ve been thinking about sending query letters to magazines for an article you’ve written or hope to write, then you’ve probably found an abundance of articles on the Internet about what you should do. However, there is a lack of information regarding what you should not do when it comes to writing a magazine query letter. Following are the seven worst opening lines you could possibly think to use.
Worst Opening Lines for a Magazine Query Letter #1:
“I’ve never read your magazine, but I think this article will fit.”
Rule of thumb: You should always read a magazine before you attempt to query, but even if you haven’t, it is never a good idea to admit as much. Editors choose the articles they will use in their magazines based on a carefully judged fit; if they know that the author hasn’t bothered to read the magazine, they might just throw his or her query letter in the trash.
Worst Opening Lines for a Magazine Query Letter # 2:
“This article is so amazing that it’s been published five times.”
Rule of thumb: Magazine editors are looking for interesting, unique, previously unpublished articles. If you’re wanting to publish an article in a particular magazine but have already published a similar piece, do both yourself and the editor a favor and rewrite it, adding a different spin or new research. Editors aren’t even going to look at an article that’s already been published “five times”.
Worst Opening Lines for a Magazine Query Letter #3:
“I’ve read your magazine and this story is ten times better than the ones you publish.”
Rule of thumb: Insulting a magazine editor is not a good idea. Although every writer would hope that his or her story is ten times better than any other the magazine has ever published, this is a matter of private opinion. You’re much better off not comparing your story to the magazine’s other publications at all, unless you are going to give reasons why your article is a good fit.
Worst Opening Lines for a Magazine Query Letter #4:
“My college professor gave me an A+ on this paper, so I know you’ll want to buy it.”
Rule of thumb: Don’t submit your college term papers, research papers or essays. Academic papers are rarely a good fit for a magazine-even an academic magazine-and you’ll just lose points from the get-to by mentioning it. If your article was originally turned in to a professor, keep that bit of information to yourself.
Worst Opening Lines for a Magazine Query Letter #5:
“My [brother, sister, mom, best friend] wrote this article and I think you should publish it.”
Rule of thumb: It’s been tried a million times over-the good Samaritan trying to help his or her relatives to publishing success-and it doesn’t work. Whether or not this is true, the original author of a manuscript should be the one to submit it to agents and publishers, so don’t do it on someone else’s behalf. And if you are the actual author of the piece, don’t try to score points by lying.
Worst Opening Lines for a Magazine Query Letter #6:
“I know that your magazine is geared toward [sailing, parenting, golfing] but I think this article about stocks will delight your readers.”
Rule of thumb: Only submit query letters to magazines for which your article will be an asset. Magazine editors know what their readers want, so even if your article about stocks is fantastic, it won’t find a place in a parenting magazine. Now, if the article is about investing in your child’s future, it could be rewritten to fit in the parenting magazine.
Worst Opening Lines for a Magazine Query Letter #7:
“If u liek dis article plz email me back rite away.”
Rule of thumb: Write your magazine query letters like a professional. Editors don’t want to read ‘net speak, poor grammar, bad spelling or “informal” writing. Your query letter is representative of the piece you are trying to sell, so even if you are querying by e-mail, it should be professional, well-written and checked for grammatical and spelling errors.