Query Letter Example: Health


All non-monogamous sexually active people are at risk of acquiring an STI, and if you’ve had three or more partners, then you’ve probably had one.

Yet we remain averse to talking about STIs. We shouldn’t be—because we are experiencing an STI epidemic, and we have to do something about it.

THE HIDDEN EPIDEMIC unveils the world’s most common infections, which most of us would never admit to having. By reporting on the hidden global epidemic, this book aims to raise awareness, promote dialogue, and destigmatize sexually transmitted infectious diseases.

THE HIDDEN EPIDEMIC will appeal to readers who liked Bonk by Mary Roach or The Body by Bill Bryson, as well as those who may be returning, post-divorce, to the dating scene. It also will interest the LGBTQ+ community, some of whom suffer the highest rates of infection.

As a women’s health nurse practitioner with a doctorate in public health, I share my personal and professional experiences with STIs, along with their biology, epidemiology, and sometimes hilarious history. I am the author of Pregnancy and the Pharmaceutical Industry (Elsevier, 2019) and The Vulva Owner’s Manuals series (2020). I’ve written for BabyMed, Pregistry, and Ms. Magazine, and I also serve as editor for the journal STI.

A forthcoming title, Strange Bedfellows by Ina Park, has a similar mission to destigmatize STDs. While we both use candor and humor to entertain and put the reader at ease, her book takes a more medical perspective, while mine takes a more public health approach. My mission is to educate the public about a raging epidemic of which they may not be aware, including its terrible consequences – chronic pain, ectopic pregnancy, preterm birth, stillbirth, maternal deaths and rising health care costs.

I want to make it acceptable to read a book about STIs on the subway, to bring up the topic at the dinner table, to ask your friends not if they’ve ever had one, but “How many have you had?” Nothing less than public conversation and continued commitment can remove the stigma and end this hidden epidemic.

Thank you for your time and consideration. A complete proposal is available.