One Chance to Make a First Impression


An editor’s first look at a writer’s work is in the query letter. Steph Auteri, writing in Ploughshares, explains how writers can improve their introductions, and why it matters when they try to publish.

The best way to make an editor’s life easier is to make their decision to publish or not publish a no-brainer. A lot of this comes from showing a familiarity with their publication and with their audience. And to do this, you need to do your homework.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →