Writing a Cover Letter
As a beginner I had no idea that cover letters existed until I tried to submit my first short story manuscript to a publication whose guidelines required that each manuscript be accompanied by a cover letter. However, when I was aware of cover letters, I was confused. So I researched a bit. If you are just about to embark on the journey of the writer and submit your first short story manuscript, hopefully this article will help you, as I have been helped by some guides for cover letters.
Take your loupe and accompany me to take a closer look at this type of letter.
Cover letters are short letters that are usually included in short story manuscripts. Usually a letter with one to three short paragraphs. The cover letter is usually truncated before the first page of your manuscript if you send your submission by mail. If you send your manuscript by e-mail, your cover letter will appear in front of your story as the main part of your e-mail and still serve as an introduction. Regardless of whether you submit by mail or e-mail, your cover letter should be one-line, in standard block or half-block format, and spaced twice between paragraphs. When submitting your manuscript, consider submitting your cover letter on white 8 ½ “x 11” paper.
As mentioned earlier, the number of paragraphs in a cover letter can vary. Regardless of how many paragraphs there are, some information that is usually listed in cover letters will include the title of your story and the word count of your story. If you submit your manuscript not by e-mail but by post, you may also wish to indicate that a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) is attached and no return of the manuscript is required.
Here is an example cover letter:
Your city, state / country postal code
Your phone number
Your e-mail address
Name of the publisher
Title of the publication
City, state / country postal code
Please see my 2,500-word, previously unpublished, “Your Story’s Title” manuscript for publication in Any Title Magazine. A self-addressed, stamped envelope is included in your response. There is no need to return the manuscript if my story does not interest you.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
What you should not include in your cover letter is a detailed description of your story. I have also recently noted some submission guidelines in which editors emphasized that the authors should not submit photos of themselves along with their submissions. Always read the most up-to-date guidelines for a publication and send only what the publishers require from you. A submission violation policy can sometimes mean an automatic rejection of your short story.
Not every editor requires you to send cover letters with your short story manuscripts. However, if a cover letter is required, try to consider your cover letter as a polite introductory tool and not as a sales pitch. Let yourself be introduced to your cover letter and speak your story for yourself. For more acceptance and fewer rejections.