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Document 3 - Your Cover Letter

Many authors anguish over what to write in a cover letter, but the layout and content are simple.

Try and imagine it from the editor's point of view. While you've lived with your idea and writing for a few years, your editor has (hopefully) never read a story quite like it before. So, use the cover letter as an opportunity to entice the editor to read your submission. Tell us what you work is about; who wrote it, and why.

Here is an example of a short cover letter.

Dear Editor,

“A Golden Tangleweed” is an Adventure Romance set in modern times.

I wrote it after watching the movie “Gravity” and imagining what it would be like if those events took place in the asylum where I work as a nurse.

Although the protagonists have overwhelming odds to overcome, love finally prevails, but not quite where we expect.

It’s a feel-good story and I hope I’ve made the characters sympathetic, despite their location.

Yours,

...

Note the follow points:

  • It doesn’t harm to repeat the title, the genre and the settings. This is also for your benefit – it allows you to confirm you are meeting our submission guidelines.
  • Tell us why you wrote this novel, and why you wrote it now. ‘Inspired by; where I work’.
  • Tell us enough about yourself that is relevant to the novel: ‘Nurse; Asylum’
  • You don’t need to tell us that this is your first novel.
  • You don’t need to repeat the plot – the synopsis covers that.
  • You don’t need to beg us to publish your book because your cat is starving.
  • You don’t need to tell us you live in Surrey with a (starving) cat and two goldfish, but a sentence or two of biography can help make your letter more personal, if you like.

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