When I was working as an Editor, my email box was usually filled with what was considered a query letter from a novice or wannabe author. In short, they are emails addressed to the Editor as opposed to my name and generally stating that I would lose if I didn’t employ their services. Of course they were removed. In short, a query is your pitch, be it to Agents, Publishers or Magazine Editors.
Given that the question is related to magazine queries, this article will focus on that.
The query should include the ideas that you are selling, how you intend to develop them, your familiarity with the magazine and what qualifies you to write articles. This is a general prerequisite. Conditional on this, magazines have guidelines and most commonly set themes two to three months in advance, in some cases six months. Furthermore, they are magazines that publish monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly or seasonally. Therefore, there is no point in sending queries for articles that will be published at Xmas, in November.
This is where researching magazine guidelines is essential.
A simple phone call asking for a magazine guide, will save you a lot of trouble in the future as you will see exactly what they are looking for, when they are looking and how you should approach them. Unless you are a subscriber of a particular magazine and are familiar with its content, tone, style, and topic, it is in your best interest to review it at least six months ago. Analysis with a fine tooth comb that records things like content. Is it Women’s magazine, Christian and so on.
Next check the length, tone, style and length of the article.
Also check to see who wrote for them. Some magazines such as O Magazine do not work with freelance writers. They already have an in-house staff writer and one is generally invited to contribute. Also look at the types of images and photos they use, maybe you can provide photos and increase your costs. The above may seem tedious at first, but in the end if you are serious about writing for magazines, your research will only stand you in a good position when you present your queries.