For background on the 60 Days of Journal Article Writing, please click here.
Writing a query letter to editors is one of the most contentious issues on campus when it comes to scholarly publishing. Faculty are massively confused about inquiry versus submission, and there is a hoary old "rule" floating around that says you can only contact one publishing outlet at a time, and only with a full submission. I think I've used the word before, but I'll say it again, "Balderdash." That may have once upon a time been the story in academia, but real editors at real publishing outlets (great ones, the best, and an amazingly wide array) say differently.
Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks agrees, much to my relief, and all of Week 4 was devoted to choosing a journal. It ends by having the article author (you, me) write an inquiry to editors. She provides a model, and a long rationale about why this makes sense, not only to get a sense of whether you should even submit your article to that journal, but whether it is functional, whether it has a backlog of several years (some do), and whether a forthcoming article is too similar to yours for a journal to even consider one of your type. So today I'm writing my query letter. After ranking the journals from my earlier post on who they are and what they publish, I will send it to five of the 21 journals I have identified as potentially right for work like mine.