All Levels: From Pitch to Publication — Writing Winning Query Letters


Unlock the secrets to writing winning query letters with best-selling author Kathryn Aalto.  Designed for aspiring writers eager to break into the competitive world of publishing, From Pitch to Publication is a comprehensive deep dive into the art and science of query letter writing—an essential bridge to publication.

All writers need to know how to craft succinct yet compelling proposals (known as ‘query letters’) to pitch story ideas to acquisitions editors at magazines and publishing houses. This course is structured to demystify the query letter writing process, providing insights into the dos and don’ts that can make all the difference. Kathryn’s approach goes beyond the technicalities, delving into the psychology of what makes a query letter stand out. Participants will learn to artfully pitch their ideas, making them irresistible to the right editors at the right publication.

Kathryn’s practical tips and insider knowledge cover everything from crafting compelling opening lines to succinctly summarizing complex narratives, empowering participants to confidently pitch their projects. In addition to the practical skills imparted, her course instills a sense of confidence in writers, empowering them to navigate the competitive publishing landscape with assurance.

With a track record of successful publications and a keen understanding of what acquisition editors are looking for, Kathryn guides students through the nuances of query letters to help them stand out in a crowded market. This course is a ticket to mastering the art of query letter writing and increasing your chances of success in the fiercely competitive world of publishing.



  • 7-8:30 PM BST
  • Three consecutive Thursdays 
  • 6/13/20 June 2024


  • £195 per person


The course begins with an exploration of the essential components of a winning query letter, breaking down the anatomy of a pitch that grabs attention from the first sentence. Through three engaging modules, Kathryn covers every aspect of query letters, from the crucial opening lines to the closing call to action. In addition to showing real-world examples and success stories from her own vault, Kathryn offers constructive critiques on finished query letters. Students can expect to gain a deep understanding of the elements that compose a winning query letter, enabling them to showcase their writing prowess effectively.

As an added bonus, the course also delves into the dos and don’ts of follow-up strategies, providing participants with a road map for navigating the post-query process. Kathryn’s perspective on what happens behind the scenes gives participants a competitive edge.

In this course, you will learn and accomplish the following:

  • Craft two original query letters
  • Learn how acquisitions editors think and work
  • Understand publishing terminology
  • Research publications to house style and submission guidelines

This course is live online over Zoom.


Writing can often be a solitary pursuit, but Kathryn’s writing courses are characterised by a warm fellowship and positive accountability that keep you comfortably supported and focused on your writing goals. Each session you gather with your classmates, you will learn from and teach each other while gaining a new set of friends who share your writing aspirations and growth mindset.

Kathryn Aalto is a passionate practitioner and teacher of narrative nonfiction.  For more than twenty-five years, she has taught writing and literature courses at colleges and universities including Western Washington University, Everett Community College, and Plymouth University and guest lectured at Cambridge University, Vanderbilt University, Cornell University, and more. She has a global mentoring practice and leads in-person retreats as well as creative nonfiction writing courses online and in person at workshops and retreats in the United States and United Kingdom. She was a judge for 2022 Nature Chronicles Prize, an international bi-annual award for nature writing in the English language.

Her teaching philosophy is focused on encouraging a uniquely personal exploration of narrative nonfiction. At its core, she believes teaching is about responding to each student, whether they are an emerging writer or writing beyond the level of content mastery. She cultivates a mindful and supportive learning environment that fosters personal expression, critical thinking, and individual artistic growth in the literary arts.



“I have been making my living with journalistic texts for four years now. Tied to my desk due to the pandemic I decided it was time to take my writing to another level and enrolled in The Art of Narrative Nonfiction. Being skeptical of virtual courses at first, I was immediately drawn into the group by her professional and yet entertaining moderation of the weekly online gatherings. With an attractive mix of lecture, discussion, workshop and personal tutoring she enabled us to not only profit from her vast experience as a writer but also to open up our pieces to our peers from various cultural backgrounds. I’ll definitely be back for more.” — Johannes, Cologne, Germany

“Margaret Atwood said ‘If you really want to write, and you’re struggling to get started, you’re afraid of something.’ Kathryn fixes those nagging fears by showing writers what we have that is already good, and what we can do better tomorrow. It’s win-win, and she remakes a traditional “class” into such an enjoyable, productive journey. I’ve also been lucky enough to experience the awe-inspiring surroundings and warm community that form the bedrock of the Rural Writing Institute. It’s not often that you can genuinely say that one long weekend shifted the way you look at the world, but the effects are still with me in my reading and writing years later.” — Caroline, Aberdeen, Scotland

“After six months of working with Kathryn–which is a bit like entering the space of a handwritten letter, what with her sharp aesthetic sense, far-ranging intelligence, wit, and curiosity–I’ve made tangible progress on an unwieldy, long-form project I was struggling to articulate. I came to her Memoir and Life Writing class for accountability, and came away having experienced the kind of support, writing insight, and real feeling of friendship that can be difficult to find in a workshop environment. Kathryn fostered a warm, charming atmosphere in class (a real feat online), allowing for life-long connections to develop among our group of writers. She cares about the arc of her student’s writing lives–a form of attention that encourages artistic growth and positive risk-taking. She not only brought her years of writing and publishing experience to class and to our bi-monthly writing assignments (her personal feedback, often handwritten, is invaluable), she also brought her unique perspective. Writer-gardener-historians are, I think, particularly adept at imagining the possibilities for a piece, no matter your subject. Kathryn pushed me to dig deeper, moving my writing in new directions. No matter where one is in their writing life, working with Kathryn will be an experience of profound joy, insight, and artistic deepening.” — Veronica, Portland, Oregon