Last week, we talked about submitting to magazines. A visitor (Hi Diana!) said she’d love to learn how to prepare the cover letters that accompany submissions. By the way, unless the guidelines specifically advise against a cover letter, you’ll need to include one.
So…below, I have posted a couple of sample cover letters that I used for my own submissions. Don’t copy it word for word – it’s just a guideline to show what type of information to include. Also keep in mind that cover letters are a little different (and more simple) than query letters, which we will cover in a future post.
This is a cover letter that accompanied my first fictional submission to LIVE. They went on to purchase it, changing the title to “I Love My Job!”
Dear Mr. Smith, (Address the editor by name)
This story is approximately 800 words. In its original form, it was posted on www.faithwriters.com back in 2007. It has not been published anywhere else and I have since edited it a bit. (Indicate word count, what rights you are selling, or any other pertinent information about the particular piece you’re submitting)
I am a freelance writer from Michigan and my work has been published in greeting cards, anthologies, dozens of online sites and ezines, as well as a couple of print magazines (Christian Home & School and Our Family). My fiction has won several awards, most recently taking 2nd place in the ACFW Genesis Contest (chick lit category). (Tell them a little about yourself as a writer and why you are qualified to write for them. Just a little – do not send a full-page bio)
On a personal note, I have been married for over twenty years and have two great kids. (Just a touch of personal info)
I hope you find that my story fits your style and current needs. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you. (Quickly, politely, and professionally wrap it up)
You’ll notice some definite similarities in the next one, but I’ve worded it in a way that specifically addresses the guidelines of Mature Living magazine. This story was published just last month.
Attn: Rene Holt, Editor
Dear Ms. Holt,
Who says romance is only for the young? This is a sweet love story that tells the tale of a woman on her wedding day, reflecting on the relationship she has with her husband-to-be. There is a slight twist at the end which will definitely appeal to your readers.
A Vision and a Vow took first place in the FaithWriters Writing Challenge in 2006. It was then published in their quarterly anthology book.
On a personal note, I am a freelance writer from Michigan. I have had dozens of web content articles and short stories published, as well as a couple of articles in Christian Home and School magazine. I have also had greeting cards purchased by Blue Mountain Arts and DaySpring and recently finished my first novel. I have been married for twenty years and have two children.
I hope these samples help to give an idea of what information to include in your cover letters. As you can see, it’s best to keep it short, simple, and to the point. Much success to you as you present your work to publishers.