1. LD.
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    LD. New Member

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    Cover Letters

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by LD., Aug 10, 2009.

    I have a simply problem. Luckily, it is a small one.

    It's done. My story - and I insist on calling it that as novel seems somewhat above me - is done. And not done in the "I am finished" sense. Done in the "I am proud and wouldn't change it for anyone short of a major editor."

    The issue is I do not know what expectations publishers have from cover letters. I want to do this properly; to give two years work justice.

    I am not new to the internet. I've run a few searches into the matter. Ideally I would have found an actual editors e-mail and politely asked.

    Does anyone have any experience with the matter?
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    first of all, a novel is not just a 'story'... if you call a piece of work a 'story' people in the industry will assume it's a short story, not a book... so, if you've written a novel, you must call it that, regardless of how it 'feels' to you...

    that said, you wouldn't be using a cover letter for a novel until/unless sample chapters or the full ms were requested...

    so, to give you any specific advice, first i have to know what it is you want to submit--a short story to magazines, or a novel to book publishers...
     
  3. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    I think you should visit the Publishers threads and click at the one at the top that Maia has so kindly posted. There's a site that will help you with your query.
    Good luck
     
  4. LD.
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    LD. New Member

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    It would be a novel, in my mind, if it were published.

    ~70,000 words the last time i checked, likely ~75 now.

    Somehow I missed this publishing section. Apologies and thank you!
     
  5. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    LD,

    In most cases with agents you need to send a query letter first. If they request a partial (often first 3 chapters and synopsis) it would then be appropriate to send a cover letter with the partial.

    In the cover letter you'd be brief. Some of the same information in the query letter would be included, but you'd also mention that the agent had requested the partial.

    Some publishers accept submission packages, normally again a synopsis and first three chapters.

    In the accompanying cover letter you'd provide contact information (just like an any formal business letter). Tell the title, genre and word count, a few lines about what the novel is about, and possibly why you feel it is a good match for that market or agent to represent. If you have any relevant writing credits, you'd include those. Not much else to add. Be sure to include a self-addressed stamped envelope for reply (SASE) if it is sent vial postal delivery--don't require them to sign for it. If it is via email, follow the guidelines as to file format (rtf, doc, etc.) and the proper email address and subject line, etc.

    With all cover letters to agents and editors, be brief, polite and professional. Don't send a generic form letter and spell names correctly.

    It should be noted that a query letter differs slightly in content as compared to a cover letter.

    Hope this clarifies things a bit.

    Terry
     

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