Sample Query
by Moira Allen

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For more information on how to write a query, see How to Write a Successful Query Letter and Preparing E-mail Queries.

Moira Allen

1413 MyStreet S. · Somewhere, VA 23320
(888) 555-1234 · fax: (888) 555-1235

December 17, 1996

(Editor's name)
Entrepreneur Magazine

Dear Ms. (Editor):

Thanks to a translation glitch, Microsoft was forced to pull its entire Chinese edition of Windows 95 from the marketplace. Microsoft recovered -- but that's the sort of mistake few small businesses can afford! Yet thanks to the Internet, international markets are suddenly only a few keystrokes away. Just about any home office entrepreneur with a computer and a modem can create a web page that may be accessed around the world. If those keystrokes are wrong, however, that same page can drive international business away.

I'd like to offer you a 1500-word article titled "Internationalizing Your Online Market." The article would discuss how small businesses can take advantage of "localizing" or "internationalizing" agents to tailor both their products and their marketing strategies to the international marketplace. Localizing includes not only translation assistance, but advice on "cultural correctness" in both one's product and marketing approach. For example:

  • When is a mailbox not a mailbox? "Standard" computer icons often reflect images that are incomprehensible or offensive to other cultures -- including images of American-style mailboxes that may have no counterpart in the market you're trying to reach.

  • When are pictures of babies offensive? In Moslem countries, the display of bare body parts (including diaper-clad babies) is unacceptable, even when considered modest by Western standards.

  • Is it really black and white? In the West, black is the color of funerals and white is the color of weddings. But in Asia, white symbolizes mourning and death, while red symbolizes marriage.

  • Does anybody know what time it is? Depending on your market, it could be 3:30 PM, 1530, 15h.30, 15.30, or 15:30. Times, dates and currency expressions vary widely throughout the world!

My article would describe the types of services available from a localizer, the costs involved, and how to find such services. It will highlight "internationalizing" a web page to make it more effective, "culturally correct," and user-friendly in the international market. The article will include an interview with Sol Squires, president of Twin Dragons, who will share some of the blunders that can be avoided with localization help.

When even the smallest of businesses are capable of offering products and services via computer to the international marketplace, business owners need to know how to avoid the pitfalls of this type of marketing. I believe this article would be timely and useful to your audience; if you agree, I can provide the piece within 30 days of your go-ahead. Thanks for your time; I look forward to hearing from you.


Moira Allen


Copyright © 2001 Moira Allen
Excerpted from The Writer's Guide to Queries, Pitches and Proposals.

This article may be reprinted provided that the author's byline, bio, and copyright notice are retained in their entirety. For complete details on reprinting articles by Moira Allen, please click HERE.

Moira Allen is the editor of, and has written nearly 400 articles, serving as a columnist and regular contributor for such publications as The Writer, Entrepreneur, Writer's Digest, and Byline. An award-winning writer, Allen is the author of eight books, including Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer, The Writer's Guide to Queries, Pitches and Proposals, and Writing to Win: The Colossal Guide to Writing Contests. In addition to, Allen hosts, a growing archive of articles from Victorian periodicals, and The Pet Loss Support Page, a resource for grieving pet owners. She lives in Maryland with her husband and the obligatory writer's cat. She can be contacted at editors "at"


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