Letters of Introduction – A Profitable Alternatives to Queries By John K. Borchardt

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Letters of introduction can be a powerful tool to increase freelancing income. Sometimes letters of introduction (LOIs) are an effective alternative to conventional query letters. One LOI, which I wrote last April to a custom publisher, resulted in four assignments for a total of $11,000.

A letter of introduction serves to introduce you to editors. The essential ingredients of a letter of introduction are:

  • a statement of your eagerness to write on assignment
  • a summary of your writing experience and accomplishments. Focus on those likely to be of most interest to the editor. You can determine which of your skills and what aspects of your experience are most relevant by studying the magazine, the magazine’s website and the publisher’s website.
  • your writer’s bio and clips

Don’t ask how much the publication pays. Wait until the editor asks you to write an article before raising this issue.

While these are called letters, all of my LOIs have been e-mailed without attachments. Some writers send out large numbers of a generic LOI to editors and publishers. This can produce some successes but the success percentage is low. I have used a different strategy and instead targeted publications and publishers needing articles in fields for which I already had substantial experience. I customized each letter for the magazine or publisher I was contacting. Also I produced customized subject lines for my e-mails. For example, I use the subject line