Friday, November 16, 2018

Pitch letter sample

Here's a 'pitch' letter I wrote to Harper's, the place I'd most like to write for. Alas. The big boo-boo was maybe the "re: nonfiction query" since it's a pitch. A query is for a longer piece, to a lit agent or publisher. I did actually write an essay, here, which ended up at Comics Bulletin. For free. Where I was already writing reviews. For free. I never heard from Harper's at all. Still, I think it's a decent pitch. This was a hard copy letter, and I included a list of my previous publications, or some. Which I would not do now. You can find them all at my website:

john yohe
portland, or 97210
March 20, 2014

Harper’s Magazine
666 Broadway, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10012

re: nonfiction query

I nod hello to Spider Man, but he's distracted by the third Catwoman of the day walking by in a tight black body suit. I'm on my way to the Feminism in Comics program—t was that or Metaphysics in Comics—but I may be late, because getting through the mob of superheroes is proving difficult, especially with a life-size Totoro taking up the aisle. Except, it's a Bat Totoro: he has a bat utility belt and what must be a bat cowl.

This is the world of ComiCons: Comic Conventions, where the freaks come out to meet their favorite comic book writers and illustrators, or to see and obtain autographs from the newest tv movie stars. Or to just engage in what is called 'cosplay'—costume play. In the meantime in the main convention hall there are booths galore, from indie comic publishing companies like Dark Horse, to local comic book stores selling new and used single-issues, compilations, and graphic novels. There are also panels galore, on anything from how to break into the comics industry, to the unique problems gaming couples experience and work through.

I will be attending the Emerald City ComiCon in Seattle at the end of March, and propose writing an ethnographic-type essay, 3,000-6,000 words about this sub-pop-culture phenomenon. My main question will be, Why? What makes these ComiCons so popular, especially since many of the participants may not even read comics.

John Yohe holds a MA in Written Communication, and a MFA in Poetry Writing. He is a regular reviewer at the website Comics Bulletin. Recent published nonfiction pieces on pop culture include “The Many Faces of Red Sonja” and “Slayer! : An Essay in Thirteen Parts.” A partial list of published works is included. Please see his website,, for a complete list, with links.

John Yohe

John Yohe: Published writing

Creative Non-Fiction:

"Holy Water." Scheduled to appear in the anthology On Foot: Essays on hiking in the Grand Canyon. Vishnu Press. Flagstaff: 2014.

“Slayer! : An Essay in 13 Parts.” SLOW TRAINS. March 2013.

“Puerto Rico in the Late 60s.” SALT RIVER REVIEW. October 2010.

“Barefoot Running Allowed Me To Run Again.” BAREFOOT RUNNING SOCIETY WEBSITE. July 2010.

“Academic” WRITING ON THE EDGE. Volume 19 #2 Spring 2009. UC Davis. Davis, CA. 2009.

Book Reviews:

“Dynamite’s Many Faces of Red Sonja.” COMICS BULLETIN. February 2014.

“What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned by Sherman Alexie: A Review.” WORD RIOT.  February 2014.

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #1 “Sanctuary.” COMICS BULLETIN. February 2014.

Wonder Woman Volume 4: War. COMICS BULLETIN. February 2014.

The Black Beetle: No Way Out. COMICS BULLETIN. January 2014.

Lazarus Book 1: Family. COMICS BULLETIN. January 2014.

Bandette Volume 1: Presto!  COMICS BULLETIN. January 2014.

X Volume 1: Big Bad. COMICS BULLETIN. December 2013.

“The Day of the Triffids by David Wyndham.” WORD RIOT. December 2013.

“Who Will Save Red Sonja? Enter Gail Simone.” COMICS BULLETIN. December 2013.

“Ten Thousand Voices by Rick Kempa.” RATTLE. Summer 2013.

“Keeping The Quiet by Rick Kempa.” BOXCAR POETRY REVIEW Spring 2011.

“The Poetry and Life of Allen Ginsberg: a narrative poem by Edward Sanders: A Review.” CLOCKWISE CAT. Issue #18 Summer 2010.

American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell: A Review.” Issue #7 February 2010.

The Great Fires by Jack Gilbert: A Book Review” RATTLE #23. Fall 2005.


“Ready Or Not.” WRITING ON THE EDGE Volume 20 #2 Spring 2010. UC Davis. Davis, CA.

“What Works For Me: Using Six Word Memoirs As Icebreaker and Intro To The Writing Process.” TEACHING ENGLISH IN THE TWO-YEAR COLLEGE. The National Council of Teachers of English. Spring 2010.

“Academic.” WRITING ON THE EDGE Volume 19 #2 Spring 2009. UC Davis. Davis, CA. Winter/Spring 2009.


"Brainstorm." Flash fiction at SMASHED CAT. Scheduled for January 2014.

“The Jacket.” FAT CITY REVIEW. June 2013.

"Humiliation." BLACK HEART MAGAZINE. June 2013.

“La Chingada.” SOL: English Writing in Mexico. scheduled for July 2013. Mexico City, Mexico.

"Umbrellas." AMARILLO BAY Volume 14, number 4. November 2012.

“María José.” SOL: English Writing in Mexico: SOL Literary Magazine Anthology, edited by Eva Hunter. 2012: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. (Originally appeared in SOL: English Writing in Mexico. July 2011. Mexico City, Mexico.

“Horses.” SUBTLE TEA. Winter 2011.

“Riding Dragons.” SLOW TRAINS. Volume 10, Issue 1, 2010.

“A Northern Michigan Myth.” HURON RIVER REVIEW #9. Ann Arbor, MI. Spring 2010.

 “Masquerade” CELLARROOTS. Eastern Michigan University. Ypsilanti, MI. Winter 2008.

“Water” LEFT CURVE Literary Journal Oakland, CA. Spring 2006.

“Piñata” RIVERSEDGE Literary Magazine Winter 2006.

“Punta Concepción” BRIDGE Literary Magazine, issue 13, spring 2005 Chicago, IL.

“They’re For My Husband” BEST AMERICAN EROTICA OF 2004, ed. Suzie Bright, Touchstone Books, Simon and Shuster Publishing.

“What You Are” short story: LEFT CURVE Literary Journal. Oakland, CA. 2003.

“They’re For My Husband” LEG SHOW. May 2002. New York, NY.

“Violent Sex” RATTAPALLAX. New York, NY. 2002.

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