If you have a truly personal connection with the editor, feel free to add it. I love dogs. Always include information on simultaneous submissions as a matter of professional courtesy. Include some general details about your current occupation, your training or education, and some of your most recent publications.
You probably want to leave out superfluous details like your job as a babysitter in sixth grade or your last sandwich order. There you have it. A quick but professional way to open your submission to a literary journal, magazine, and publication. You seem human, but you are first and foremost a writer. And writers want their work to be read and published.
Good luck! Darren Chang is an undergraduate student at Cornell University, where he participates in intercollegiate policy debate, writes a column for the Daily Sun, and devours large quantities of ice cream. Academically, he is interested by the intersection of different cultural perspectives, especially Asian American and disability scholarship. You can also catch him reading memoirs and autobiographies, playing ping pong, and laughing at memes of his home state of Indiana.
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Load More. How to Write a Cover Letter. Do: Address it to "Editors" or to all of the editors by name. List up to three previous publication credits if you have them. It's okay if you don't have any.
Or, perhaps you can spot it in the next paragraph yourself. Generally, you should not include your non-writing related accomplishments in the cover letter unless your experience directly correlates to what the story is about. In our example, the author is absolutely right to mention their physics background and their thesis. It is directly relevant to the story they are submitting and to Time Travel Tales as a market.
The other tidbits, however, should not be included unless the author is presenting a story about a Taekwondo tournament or about breeding cats. If you write a story set in Japan and you have lived in Japan for a few years, you can mention that. But your advanced degree in Windchime Studies is likely not helpful when trying to sell a cyberpunk story. In fact, seeing this in a cover letter almost always correlates to something I can quit reading after a page because the writing is subpar.
The other thing that is perfectly okay but unnecessary to include are your professional writing association memberships: SFWA, HWA, and the like. Instead, focus on including your publishing credits and awards or achievements in creative writing, if any. Every editor I know loves discovering new talent and loves being the first to publish someone, or first to publish someone in a pro venue. No one is going to hold a lack of past credits against you.
There are two things that can hurt you, however:. Name-dropping your top 3 markets is better for establishing your bona fides than name-dropping your top 10 markets. The second way to torpedo your chances is to mix in your non-fiction credits with your fiction credits to make the overall list more impressive. You can even include those credits in your cover letter if you really want to.
Back in the days when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and the price of return postage for a stack of typewritten pages was cheaper than the cost of photo-copying an extra set, some authors wanted their rejected manuscripts back. Magazines required that these authors include a SASE self-addressed stamped envelope either way, and enough postage if you wanted your precious pages back coffee stains optional.
Fast forward to today. All submissions are electronic. So, what is the point of adding this line to the cover letter? None, other than blindly following conventions from the bygone era. Consider including word count in email header as this may be helpful to the editors as they often choose to read stories based on how much free time they have available.
If anything, I feel like mine is on the longish side. Note the URL at the end of the letter. Because this cover letter has, hopefully, done its job of introducing me briefly and will not get in the way of the story. Which is, really, all you can ask of an optimal cover letter. Related This entry was posted on Monday, May 9th, at pm and is filed under Craft of Writing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
And some markets, like Strange Horizons , actually prefer this salutation. This was very helpful! I have notice there are some exceptions, but usually those markets say so directly on their website or even include examples of what they think are good cover letters.
The one thing that surprised me in this was you saying that it might be better to have no credits than a long list of non-paying ones. I might be more selective for here on out. I need to be more persistent with paid markets. What I suggest is only listing your best credits. Also, downgrading your submission to token venues after only rejections may be too fast.
It only takes one editor who will love the story to find it a home! One other caveat: I edit for a number of different venues, and it helps me immensely when the cover letter specifies the name of the publication submitted to. Good point. I suppose this depends on the method of the submission. It saves me from having to think too much. I read the cover letter last. It has now switched from something that might put me off a story to something that might encourage me to give it a second chance.
Blog at WordPress. Alex Shvartsman's Speculative Fiction. 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. Jane Smith, Editor Dear Mrs. This manuscript is a disposable copy. Jane Smith, Editor called and it wants its business correspondence formatting back. Dear Mrs.
Smith At the very least, this should be addressed to Ms. This story is about … If you follow any advice at all from this text, let this be it: Do not summarize your story in your cover letter. Do not. Your Story. The Blog Board. The Plug Page. Message Forums. General Discussion.
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