Skip to main content

Life Changingly Awesome Query Letters: Part 2: Rolling Stone Magazine

To: Jann Wenner
Editor of Rolling Stone Magazine

From: Kevin Alexander

Re: Query for Potential Profile

Dear Mr. Wenner,

If you were to find some sort of thermometer/pulse taking thing that could take the pulse of the entire YouTube generation, said thermometer would read "Emo". Then it would catch on fire and explode. Emo, Jann, is somewhat of a slang term derived from hardcore punk music and the subculture surrounding it. According to Wikipedia, it started in DC, but this is clearly a lie, as nothing has ever "started in DC". Anyway, it's characterized by tight jeans, bangs on dudes, Chuck Taylors, and baddish poetry centered around an "upper middle class teen life is pain" theme...so actually, maybe it did start in DC. But the kids, Janny, the kids love this sh*t. Or maybe they just "like" it, ironically. Honestly I'm not actually sure, these Facebook profiles are hard to parse. But anyway, of all the Emo bands in the Emo world, the band that best characterizes the downfalls, the upswings, and the mood altering effects of Ativan are a certain band from a certain North shore suburb of Chi-town: No, not Panic! At the Disco. Or Dave Coulier. Or Avril Lavigne. She's from Canada, I think. I'm talking, of course, about Fall Out Boy.

Now me myself, I'm a hip-hop guy, partially because I was obsessed with basketball as a wee one, but also because I envision myself as pretty damn "gangsta". I drive a 96 Ford Explorer, All Black, with smallish tires. I pay my credit card late, sometimes. I live in an apartment in the city without a concierge. Also, the air conditioning is spotty. Sh*t Jann, some people talk about it, I live it. But my point is this: despite my affinity for hip-hop, I'm willing to do a profile of Fall Out Boy. For you. Or as the Emo kids might say: 4 u:-).

I envision it like this: 4000 words, gonzo style journalism... I do some drugs on the way to meet Fall Out Boy's publicist, we get in a shouting match about the relevance of the cat on the last episode of Soprano's, I write about it. I meet the band at a semi-trendy brunch spot called Toast in Wicker Park, send back my egg white fritatta and order rye toast dry just to make a lot of crumbs, then write about it. I listen to their "From Under the Cork Tree" CD backwards while watching "The View" on mute and taking Ativan, and, wait, get this, I don't write about that. See, Jann? The key is keeping people on their toes. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that. You've probably met Boyz II Men.

But now comes the time in every query letter where the editor must make a decision. Should I trust this unknown person who comes to me and confesses to driving an SUV with smallish tires? Trust him enough to write about a semi-popular band that might not even be in the "Emo" category? Well, Jannifer, I've given you The Pledge, I've shown you The Turn, so now this is the point in the program where I reveal my Prestige: I almost worked for you. Kind of.

I, Jann, was a semi-finalist for your unsuccessful MTV reality program "I'm From Rolling Stone". You might have even watched and rejected the interview tape the casting directors made of me, probably right after the portion in which I was supposed to conduct an interview and asked each of them "about the first person they'd tongue kissed". Now, am I bitter about not being picked? Yes. But would I let that get in the way of this kick ass docu-drama-profile I'm about to write? Maybe. But would I be stupid enough to tell you that before I even got offered the contract? No f*cking way, no how.

It's your serve Janny. Either you hop aboard this "Emo" ship now, or watch it sail into the cultural sunlight, no doubt hurting the eyes of the Emo kids aboard who were trying to write poetry in the dark.

Sugar, We're Going Down Swingin',

Kevin Alexander

PS- If this isn't a fit for Rolling Stone, could you copy and paste it to one of your other mags. Like US Weekly or whatever? Just be sure and take out the Janns and insert whichever editor is applicable... I know how much editors hate that. Thankxxx.

PPS- Pictured Below: Boyz II Men, minutes before the regret of spending their entire advance on platinum encrusted sportcoats sinks in and Generation Emo posing for mom but, like, totally rejecting her premise.

Image placeholder title
Image placeholder title
From Script

Character Studies, Writing the Immigrant Experience, and Six Adaptation Steps Before You Adapt a Book (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, navigate different character study approaches in your writing, and tracking emotional journeys.

Lora Senf: On Trusting Children With Middle Grade Fiction

Lora Senf: On Trusting Children With Middle Grade Fiction

Author Lora Senf discusses how one chilling text message led her to writing her new middle grade horror novel, The Clackity.

Katrina Leno: On Writing Around an Idea

Katrina Leno: On Writing Around an Idea

Critically acclaimed novelist Katrina Leno discusses the process of bringing her childhood memories to magical life in her new young adult novel, Sometime in Summer.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: A New Podcast Episode, "Your Story" Prompt, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce our latest episode of "Writer's Digest Presents," the new "Your Story" prompt, and more!

Writer's Digest Best Live Streams, Podcasts, and YouTube Channels 2022

Writer's Digest Best Live Streams, Podcasts, and YouTube Channels 2022

Here are the top live streams, podcasts, and YouTube channels as identified in the 24th Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2022 issue of Writer's Digest.

What Is Fan Fiction in Writing?

What Is Fan Fiction in Writing?

You might have heard the term, especially if you’re in online fandoms, but what exactly is fan fiction? Managing Editor Moriah Richard explains.

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

Short story writing can be a gateway to writing your novel—but they’re also fun and worthy stories in their own right. Here, author Dallas Woodburn shares 5 ways to use short stories to grow as a writer.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not having an online presence.

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Physician, cartoonist, and author Shirlene Obuobi discusses the writerly advice that led to writing her new coming-of-age novel, On Rotation.