Query letter example

Article proposals are as varied as the people that make them. Here’s one of mine. Although it wasn’t accepted, and no reason given, nor any rejection notice received, I can’t feel too badly. Sunset Magazine (external link) relies on a small cadre of existing writers and they are very particular about the stories they publish. Perhaps mine would have been too regional, not appealing to enough of their broad audience. This query is about as short as I make them, under 300 words. Unless you are proposing a feature length article in a major publication, I would urge you to pen no more than 500 words. Brevity, in the internet age, is everything.

January 19, 2014

Sunset Magazine

Article proposal: Martinez: Maritime, Martinis, and Muir

What do martinis and John Muir have in common? It’s Martinez, a small, bustling town 35 miles northeast of San Francisco. The ‘Martinez Special’ originated there, later called the Martini. And John Muir’s home of 24 years lies on a hill above the city, now a National Historic Site. There’s a nearby shoreline, a marina, an Amtrak station, antiques, and even an archery shop. Plus good dining and, of course, a great place to get a martini.

I think a short article on Martinez would serve Sunset’s readers well. There’s much to discover. The Pony Express galloped through when they missed the steamer from Sacramento. It’s the birthplace of Joe DiMaggio. And it’s the seat of Contra Costa County. Across the water from the better-known Benicia, Martinez can claim its share of attractions. And it will only get better in the fall, probably the best time to place the article.

The San Francisco Bay trail, once finished, will complete a 500-mile shoreline trail around the Bay. The Carquinez Scenic Drive portion will open in the fall of 2014, linking Martinez to Crockett, with a first-class bicycle and pedestrian roadway. Known to locals as Snake Road, this part will be dog walking and stroller friendly. Grand views of ship and rail traffic along the Carquinez Strait await.

Can I answer any questions? Please e-mail me with your thoughts. Publishing credits are at my blog, linked to the signature line; I am a life-long Northern California resident. Thanks in advance, Tom Farley








By thomasfarley01

Business writer and graphic arts gadfly.

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