Author Queries

Writing Author Queries


The most common way to communicate queries to an author is by email.  Therefore, since the two of you are not looking at the text together and because you may have slightly different versions of the document, it is imperative that your queries be clear to the author.

Some tips for writing a strong query:

  1. Clearly state the location of the text in question, including chapter, page number, and paragraph. The previous sentence or another reference point is also useful.
  2. Give as much detail as necessary to make your question perfectly clear.  Don’t simply say you are unsure of a fact or that a sentence is unclear–explain the query.
  3. Factual query: Explain why the facts don’t line up and ask the author to provide the correct facts.
  4. Style query: If text is unclear or awkwardly worded, ask the author to clarify the point so that it can be reworded. It is also useful to offer possible rewordings.
  5. If you have found information that contradicts the information you are querying (e.g., you looked it up online), include what you have found.
  6. If the author will be receiving an edited text with track changes visible at the same time as the queries, placing a comment around the text in question that says “See query” or something similar is helpful.
  7. Be polite and include a direct question (when possible). 

Examples:

  • The parenthetical phrase reading “(20.2 percent in Division I)” is slightly confusing in context.
    Is it meant to indicate that 20.2 percent of all student-athletes in Division I are African American? Or is it meant to indicate that 20.2 percent of African American student-athletes are on Division I teams? Please clarify or reword the statement for clarity.
  • In different chapters, the term bifrost referring to the Milky Way, bridge of light, rainbow, etc. has a slight spelling difference.  In some cases, the o has an ogonek (tail) and in others, the o has no marking. Could you please let us know which form is preferred so that we can create unity within the work?
  • The section “Putting a Cork in Corky” ends by stating that “West Virginia finished the season ranked 19th in the country” in 1955, but then a few pages later, (on Pg. 14) it says that “For the second straight time, WVU finished the [1956] season in the rankings at the 20th spot.” Can you please confirm the rankings for 1955 and 1956 to resolve this discrepancy?
  • At the top of page 3, it lists the players who didn’t return to the team in 1946 and explains that one of them (Stakem) had tuberculosis. Do we know why the other three didn’t return – as far as I can tell, they would have only been sophomores that year. . . and they were described as talented players in Chapter 5. Is there an explanation that would fit here without going too far off track?
  • Page 3, fifth line from bottom, beginning with “In fact, ‘the passion…”
    The quote can be confusing as placed – is it meant to indicate that of all the texts from that time period, the passion narratives contain the most detail? Or is it explaining that even the writers of the passion didn’t want to dwell overly long on the procedure of crucifixion?
    Perhaps paraphrase as: In fact, of all the texts from this time period, the passion narratives provide the most detailed description of crucifixion.