"The recipe for the perfect cover/query letter is simple: give editors and agents what they want, no more and no less." (Christine Harrell)
You have a great idea for a feature article. Grab a pen and paper and write it down immediately. As Henry David Thoreau once said: "Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience."
Now that your idea is recorded and your brainstorming has begun, it's time to write that query letter to an editor to sell your idea. Christine Harrell explains: "you need to prepare a letter that provides what the editor/agent requires and then gets out of the way so your writing...stands on its own." (www.freelancewriting.com/articles/article-cover-query-letters.php)
The query should be no more than one page in length. It should be typed on 8 1/2 x 11 paper in Times New Roman with a font size of 12. Contact information should be included in the letter including your name, address, phone number and e-mail. Your publishing credits, education and any pertinent personal information should also be shared. Don't forget to thank the editor for his or her time at the end of the query. Make sure the paper has no smudges, tears or bent corners.
Blogger Laurie Kienlen describes the query letter as persuasive, professional and realistic.
Remember "it's a call to action, not a list of benefits and features" (http://theadventurouswriter.com/blogwriting/how-to-write-query-letters-for-magazine-articles/). It should get specific immediately. Don't mention money in the query; that's a conversation for later. Remember to follow up with a short polite e-mail mentioning the original query and date and asking whether or not it was received and if a decision had been made.
For sample query letters, visit http://writersresidence.com/blog/2009/12/02/samples-of-query-letters-that-work/.
To read more about drafting query letters read How to Write Irresistible Query Letters by Lisa Collier Cool at http://www.amazon.ca/How-Write-Irresistible-Query-Letters/dp/1582971552.