Writing Winning Query Letters (March)

Query letters are like marriage proposals. They can change a writer’s life. Like a marriage proposal, a lot of thought needs to go into how, when, and to whom such a question is asked. Query letters are written to literary agents and acquisition editors at magazines and publishing houses. The quality of the idea needs to be evident within 15-30 seconds. You are asking if they would like to see more of your work — a formal proposal of your book or a final essay. Query letters need to be written in a well-researched, succinct, yet engaging way. Successful queries make the difference between being a published or unpublished.

This workshop teaches how to write query letters that grab the attention of a busy acquisition editors to sell your idea for an essay, book, screenplay, or other creative work.  You will learn how to write an engaging introduction, a smashing summary, and a memorable conclusion. We will discuss the research required for successful query letters and how to tap into the zeitgeist to sell your idea.  I share concrete examples of my own query letters. You will have the opportunity to craft your own and gain immediate feedback from your fellow writers.

“Kathryn was a fabulous mentor at a time when I needed it the most. I was working on the manuscript of my first nonfiction book, and Kathryn had recently finished Writing Wild, which has a similar structure to mine. She provided wonderful advice about how to balance different chapters, how to better tell a story, and always reminded me to be specific rather than vague. Kathryn gave me courage to pursue interviews with higher profile people than I would have otherwise approached, and boosted my confidence as a writer. Our weekly call gave me goals, a schedule, and kept me accountable in my writing process. Because of Kathryn, I had a clearer sense of what makes a full-length nonfiction book work and how to get there. Working with her while I was in the final stages of my manuscript dramatically improved my final product and gave me skills that I will carry with me for my writing career.”–McKenzie Long, author, This Contested Land


  • Understand and practice the components of successful query letters.
  • Enjoy a lecture, discussion, and work-shopping of your query letters.
  • Learn how professional writers craft query letters with examples from Kathryn’s files.


  • £50 per person
  • 4:30-6:30 PM GMT
  • Saturday March 26
  • Limited to 20 people


My teaching philosophy is focused on encouraging a uniquely personal exploration of narrative nonfiction. At its core, I believe teaching is about responding to each student, whether they are emerging writers or writing beyond the level of content mastery. I create a supportive learning environment that fosters creative expression, critical thinking, and individual artistic growth.


I am a passionate practitioner and teacher of narrative nonfiction.  For more than twenty-five years, I have taught writing and literature courses at colleges and universities including Western Washington University, Everett Community College, and Plymouth University. I have a global mentoring practice, thriving online writing courses, and lead in-person retreats, courses, and workshops throughout the United States and Britain.