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 Successful queries make the difference between being a published or unpublished. You often only have one opportunity. In the words of Alexander Hamilton in the musical “Hamilton,” you can’t throw away your shot.

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.