You have completed your ms , and now what?
You may ask yourself:
How can I submit it to publishers?
How can I present it?
Here comes the cover letter.
What is a cover letter?
It is a letter that goes with your work. You cant send your work alone. You need to say something about it and about yourself
in the cover letter.
This letter is very important as it is this document that will persuade prospective editors/publishers to read your work.
It is not difficult to write a cover letter, but you should be careful not to omit any essential info. If you dont do it
right, you cant expect success.
I will help you do it right. If I can write a cover letter, you can do it, too. Its easy .
Lets get started!
- First write your name , address and contact number/e-mail on the right side of an A4 sheet.
- Next, write the editor/publishers name and address on the left side , below your personal info.
- Write the date on the right side.
- Start with : Dear Mr/Ms name of publisher
Its better to write the name of the publisher if you know it. If you dont, start with: Dear Sir/Madam
- Keep in mind that the letter is formal. Dont use any contractions such as Im or its.
- Now you can add the first paragraph. It goes like this:
I enclose the synopsis of my book/article and I wonder if you would be interested in it.
- Now give the publisher sufficient info about your book/article. Tell him in 1-2 lines the content of your book/article.
e.g. Let us suppose youve written a book about Turtles.
You can write:
TURTLES is about keeping and caring for turtle pets indoors.
Now you should tell him why the people are going to read such a book, and who is going to buy
e.g. TURTLES is a pet book that would interest children from 8-16 years old, and all pet lovers as well. This book is original
because it is written with children at that age in mind , and it is practical and easy to read.
- You must convince the publisher that you are qualified to write on the subject.
e.g. This book is based on my own experience in turtle
breeding. Or I have worked in a pet shop for two years... . You can add any experience youve had on this subject. Ask yourself:
Any other experience relevant?
- Be brief and informative. One page of an A4 sheet is enough.
- Now, if you wish, mention in your letter that you also enclose a sample chapter of your book.
e.g I also enclose a list of chapters and a sample
chapter for you to read.
The cover letter usually goes with a synopsis, a sample
chapter and a list of chapters.
This is the complete proposal package and I always do so myself. However, you can send a cover letter and a synopsis only,
but be prepared to have a sample chapter ready whenever you are asked to by a publisher to submit it.
It usually takes a lot of time before you get a reply, so you may as well send the whole package to save time.
- State that you enclose a s.a.e ( a second envelope that is stamped and addressed to yourself). They are not going to reply
if you dont enclose this.
- Close the letter. Be polite.
e.g. Thank you for your time.
I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest
Your full name
Your e-mail address
- If you wish to use the internet to submit your work, follow the same procedure-of course theres no need for a s.a.e.
Before you submit any work ,read the regulations thoroughly . Some publishers do not accept sample work via e-mail!
Now, you are ready to write your own cover letter.
Liana Metal is a teacher, artist and freelance writer based in Europe.
Visit her web site and become a contributor!