Writing a cover letter for short story submission

Make sure your story stands out in the slush pile in a good way. And yet the number of stories FFO rejects each month for not following guidelines is distressingly high. Reasons include technical considerations like using non-standard fonts Comic sans?

Writing a cover letter for short story submission

Purple Crayon Bookstores Covers letters and query letters are a source of great anxiety for writers. Because the submission process seems so mysterious, cover letters are viewed as talismans or lucky charms, the magic object that will open the door leading to publication, fame and fortune.

A terrific cover letter never sold a bad manuscript, and many lovely books have sold in spite of their cover letters. Query letters are trickier, because they are the proverbial foot in the door.

So what is a good cover letter? First it is a courtesy. As an editor, I did find submissions that lacked a cover letter a bit rude, like a phone caller who doesn't bother saying hello or identifying themselves before launching into the conversation. Like any business letter, it should include your name and address.

The text should have the title of your manuscript and what type of book -- picture book, easy-to-read, nonfiction, etc. It should be simple and direct and signed. A good query letter is a different beast. Simplicity is still a prime virtue, but a query letter is a come-on; it should entice the editor to read more.

It should give a taste of your book, a description of what it is, what is special about it, and it should be less than one page long.

I hear skeptical questions from the back of the room: Following one of the basic rules of good writing to show, not tell, I have written a selection of cover letters and a query to identify common approaches and problems.

Sample Cover Letters For some of the samples, I made up book titles for imaginary manuscripts. Spinelli did not write these letters, I am merely using his book as an example.

The book is readily available, so you can check and see if my descriptions are good. The first letter, the bad example with an imaginary manuscript, has footnotes to the common mistakes, which you may jump to if you wish. With the encouragement of my dear family, I finally wrote them down and collected them into a book.

I did work on the high school newspaper, but I don't suppose that counts. As soon as I have some, I will send them along. I also took it to my ten-year-old son's class at school and the children there were equally enthusiastic.

This book has definite kid appeal!

writing a cover letter for short story submission

K ids today face a tough world, and this book will teach them about courage and good manners in a fun way. I have enclosed the address of the National Headquarters of the Ant Farmers' Association of America, since I am sure they will be interested in a book that features so many ants.

His portrait of Anthony is enclosed. Since he is family, he will give you a good price. The Greeting of a Cover Letter Even when you have composed the perfect cover letter to send with your manuscript, and you have done your homework and chosen the perfect publisher to submit it to, one tiny problem remains.

What do you put in the greeting of your letter? You know, the part that comes after the date and address, and begins with "Dear. It's not always possible to find out the name of the person reading submissions at a particular house.

How do you address an unknown person who is going to be doing something as personal as reading your work? There are so many choices: Dear Sir or Madam -- While admirably including both genders, this one sounds like Jeeves addressing a drag queen who hadn't quite finished hormone therapy.

Dear Terrible and Beneficent Goddess of Publishing -- This may accurately reflect a writer's feelings about the balance of power during the submission process, but might be perceived as groveling. Dear Money-Grubbing Philistine -- This may also accurately reflect a writer's emotional state after a morning of many rejection letters, but could come across as a little hostile.

And the winner is: It's simple, direct, and gender neutral.Picture Book Submissions – The Great Cover Letter. September 30, You might be asking what you actually submit to a publisher when you submit a picture book manuscript.

If you’re sending it to more than one publisher, mention that it is a simultaneous submission. Keep your cover/query letter one page or less.

Views on Publishing

Keep your writing. Write a cover letter that grabs the editor's attention and sells your short story. According to the October issue of "Writer's Digest," a standout cover letter should directly address the journal's editor, include the title of your short story and summarize your story concisely and clearly.

Cover letters are brief letters usually included with short story manuscripts. Normally a letter containing one to three short paragraphs, the cover letter is most often paper-clipped in front of your manuscript's first page when you are mailing your submission. Resource Short Story Submissions Guide (grupobittia.comg) what the magazine is looking for in the format of the submission, and dealing with the (more than likely) long waiting period after submitting.

From what I've seen most places don't out right require a cover letter (since the stories are short in themselves) and those who do are.

But, if you write and submit science fiction, fantasy, and horror short stories, the following essay is for you. How to Write a Proper Short Story Cover Letter. The most important fact to remember about cover letters is this: the best cover letter in the world is not really going to help you sell your story.


These are some guidelines for writing a cover letter. For information about what kinds of stories we're looking for, see our fiction guidelines. Do: Include information about you that isn't relevant to the story.

Sample Cover Letters. Cover letters should be brief and simple. Here are a few examples of good cover .

writing a cover letter for short story submission
Novel Submission: Writing an Effective Cover Letter – Cynthia D. Griffin