The Dreaded Letter of Introduction

As a follower of freelancing guru Kelly James-Enger, I have been trying to heed her advice by writing a query letter almost every day, following up on queries after they’ve been sitting in cyberspace for a month or more, and responding to rejections, which she calls “bongs” not by wallowing in self pity, but by sending a fresh idea to the editor who rejected the last query within 24 hours and refashioning the old idea to fit another market.

I’ve had some success with the approach and have been busy working on articles for a variety of magazines and websites. But, with the holidays looming, my agenda of follow up reminders is full while the one marking upcoming deadlines is looking like the advent calendar from Bad Santa.

Today, I’m finally sitting down to tackle a task I’ve been dreading — writing a letter of introduction. My query letters are typically all about an idea with just a few sentences that highlight my professional credentials. A letter of introduction, on the other hand, is all about me. I’m not just tooting my own horn, I’m playing an extended solo.

As a person who recently asserted she could probably field as well as Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma (though I have to admit my bat would be lacking), this shouldn’t be so difficult. But it is, even though research shows that people who promote their own accomplishments are seen as more competent than those who downplay their hard work. So I am finally going to finish my first letter of introduction — right after I play a few rounds of Words With Friends.

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