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Tips for Writing an Effective Letter to the Editor

Writing a “letter to the editor” is a classic American way to communicate your message. Here are some tips:
1. The email subject line should say “Letter to the Editor” and the letter’s salutation should be “To the Editor:.” 
2. If you’re responding to a recently published article or editorial, indicate that up front in this way:
     Today’s date 
     Re: “Title of the piece you’re responding to,” date it was published To the Editor:  
3. Don’t exceed 150 words and, as long as you make your point, the shorter the better.
4. Make the letter your own. Speak in your voice.  Say only what you truly believe. 
5. Make clear your subject and main idea in the first sentence.
6. Address one subject only. Don’t be tempted to add anything extra. 
7. Make one call to action only. In this case, the call is to bring the country together, despite our differences, in this moment of crisis.
8. Edit for concision. Omit needless words.
9. Send to one publication only. Send to a second only if the first declines to publish.
10. Close the letter with your name, title, relationship to Braver Angels, and address. Then add “This letter is original and has not been previously published.”
11. If you can co-author the letter with someone in the opposite party, that will increase the power of the message and probably the likelihood of publication.
12. Check the publication’s “Letters” section for instructions on submitting letters, such as who to send to, best email address, etc. If you don’t see anything (usually you will), use your judgement on how best to send to the paper’s editor and if possible opinion editor.

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