Ideally your query does more than simply pitch an idea; it provides the editor with a story "package" that makes it easy for her to say yes. Why not offer something "extra" in your query, like:
- A sidebar. A sidebar is a shorter piece that complements that main story; editors and readers love them. For example, if you're pitching a feature story about a family whose children were diagnosed with an incurable disease, you might suggest a sidebar of symptoms and another sidebar on resources for/treatments for the condition.
- A quiz. Quizzes are a fun way to engage readers, particularly if you're writing for an online market. Tell the editor how long you expect the quiz to be.
- A round-up. A round-up is a group of quotes, tips, or advice from experts or "real people" sources. For example, if you're writing a piece on mentally preparing for a marathon, you could include a round-up of elite runners sharing how they get in "racing mode."
- Photos. Usually photos are not the writer's job, but in some instances, photos can be a great selling point. If you're pitching a travel piece, for example, mentioning that you have high-quality photos increase your chances of selling the story.
- A profile. When I recently wrote a piece on how to find love (and avoid weirdos) using social media sites, I included a profile of a woman who had recently reconnected with an old boyfriend from high school--and married him! I could have incorporated her story into the main piece, but it worked well as a separate piece as well.
Get the idea? Don't just pitch a story; pitch a package and you'll boost your query-success rate.