It's the first step, the first impression. It will get you off that "slush" pile and into the editor's lap...well, figuratively anyway. So how do you write that stellar query letter so your work can be recognized?
Step 1: Study your market. Know what the publisher will and won't publish and don't waste either of your time.
Step 2: Find the right editor. A name will always get attention vs. "Dear Editor."
Step 3: Start strong. Your lead will keep them reading. Use your top fact or main hook and SELL IT!
Step 4: Keep it brief. A one-page query is appropriate for anything you're sending out, whether it's an article or a novel. Any longer and they'll start snoozing.
Step 5: Proofread. Misspellings will mark you as an amateur. If you want to be a professional, write like one.