How To Write and Format a Cover Letter

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Many writers find that cover letters give them more trouble than writing a book blurb.  If you are submitting for the first time, you may not be sure of what to include in your letter, or how to format it.  We’ve created an example to help you with submissions to FunDead Publications, or to other publishers.

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A cover letter is not necessarily the same thing as the e-mail you attach your submission to, though many writers simply copy and paste the text from their cover letter right into the e-mail.  However, you can take advantage of the opportunity to include more information about yourself, or your writing, by including a standard cover letter, attached to the e-mail along with the submission.  By writing a different e-mail, you are also given the opportunity to make mention of more writing credits, and include links to your work, your webspace, as well as your social media pages.  We’ll cover the e-mail in another blog.

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Include your name, address, phone number, and e-mail in the upper right hand corner, as you would any professional letter.  You may also want to include your main web address, as shown in Frankenberry’s letter.

It is not necessary to include the name and address of the publisher, but traditional standards would dictate that you do, as shown.  If you can’t find the publisher’s address, try to use the location via city and state.  If this information is also unavailable, it is also acceptable to use the web address of the company’s main website.

State the date of your cover letter.

Do your research and know the name of the person you’re reaching out to!  Most often, this information is attached to a submission call, or noted on the website.

You are not required to include the information on how you discovered the call for submissions, but it can help lead into introducing your submissions.

Next, introduce your submission and say a little something about the piece.  It is your choice how much you want to talk elaborate, but remember that a cover letter should be relatively short and concise.  I would limit this to one sentence.

Introduce yourself briefly, and go over a few publishing credits, if you have them (it’s totally fine if you don’t).  If you have a large number of publishing credits, do not include them all.  Simply choose your most recent, or most important publishing credits.  If you have a website, the publisher can find further publishing credits on their own.  Avoid bombarding them with too much information.  Just give them enough so they know who you are and what you do.  If you don’t have a publishing credit, talk about how long you’ve been a writer, and maybe talk more about your submission.  It doesn’t need to be a lot, most cover letters should only be one paragraph in total.

You must state if your piece is being submitted elsewhere at the same time.  If your piece is a simultaneous submissions, please note that in the cover letter.  When a piece is accepted elsewhere, it must be withdrawn from other publishers immediately.  Some publishers don’t accept simultaneous submissions, but this is generally stated in the guidelines.

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To close out your cover letter, thank the publisher for taking the time to read your piece.  You can keep it short and sweet, but you can also spin it for a little fun.  This conclusion should be quick and simplistic. Most often, these cover letters end with “Thank you for your time”, but we also get “Thanks for your time and consideration”, and “I hope you enjoy reading “Title of your piece”.  It is also acceptable to include something along the lines of, “I look forward to your response.”

Sign your letter with a salutation of your choice!

Thanks for reading, we hope this helps you with your future submissions to FunDead Publications, or otherwise!  Next time we’ll cover the e-mail to go with your submission!

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One thought on “How To Write and Format a Cover Letter

  1. Pingback: Writing Your Submission E-Mail | FunDead Publications

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