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Write a cover letter
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Write a cover letter

A concise and professional cover letter shows an editor you're serious about writing while letting your story speak for itself. Format it as a business letter, like the one below, and keep some of these tips in mind as you write.



Author's Name
Street Address
City, State Zip
Phone Number
Email

Date

Editor's Name ("Fiction Editor")
COMPANY or PUBLICATION Name
Street Address
City, State Zip

Dear [Fiction Editor, though the editor's name is much more personal and shows you have read the magazine],

BODY OF TEXT

  • A cover letter for a prose submission should be no longer than one page.
  • The text should be single-spaced and in a standard typeface (Courier New or Times) and double-spaced between paragraphs.
  • Include the story's title and approximate word count (ex: "Thank you for considering my story 'Urban Jungle' for submission. It is approximately 2,300 words.")
  • Include your reason for submitting the particular story to the particular publication (Why did you choose their magazine? What do you admire about the publication?). You should intend to show the editor you have read their publication.
  • READ THE JOURNAL OR MAGAZINE BEFORE YOU SUBMIT YOUR WORK TO IT! At the very least, read story excerpts online to get an idea of what the publication looks for, read the submission guidelines thoroughly and format your manuscript to their exact specifications. You'll look unprofessional if you send a type of story the publication does not accept (i.e. do not submit an intergalactic battle odyssey to a Gay/Lesbian/Bi poetry anthology).
  • To reiterate: READ THE JOURNAL OR MAGAZINE BEFORE YOU SUBMIT YOUR WORK TO IT!
  • List any and all of your publishing credits. This establishes you as a "working writer." If you have no writing credits, don't sweat it. Don't lie about your credits or go out of your way to tell the editors you've never been published before.
  • Feel free to tell them you are a creative writing major at an accredited university.
  • The closing should be nothing fancy. A simple "Thank you for your time. I hope to hear from you soon," will work perfectly.


Sincerely,
Your Name

Encl.: manuscript, S.A.S.E

Always include an S.A.S.E. (self-addressed, stamped envelope) to print magazines if the magazine's guidelines ask for it. Skip this step, and you won't hear back from the editors.