Cover Letters Made Easy

You have completed your manuscript. Now what?

You may ask yourself:

How can I submit it to publishers?
How can I present it?

Here comes the cover letter.

But what is a cover letter?

It’s a letter that goes with your work. You can’t 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’s not difficult to write a cover letter, but you should be careful not to omit any essential info. If you don’t do it right, you can’t expect success.

  • First write your name, address and contact number/Email on the right side of an A4 sheet.
  • Next, write the editor/publisher’s 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
  • 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.’
  • 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 you’ve 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 it. 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 you’ve had on this subject. Ask yourself:Any other experience relevant? Any studies? Any research?
  • Be brief and informative. One page of an A4 sheet is enough.
  • Now, if the submission guidelines call for it, mention in your letter that you’ve also enclosed 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. 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.
  • State that you enclose a SASE (a self-addressed stamped envelope). They are not going to reply if you don’t enclose this.
  • Close the letter. Be polite.e.g. ‘ Thank you for your time.I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
    Yours sincerely,
    Your full name
    Your Email address

If you wish to use the Internet to submit your work, follow the same procedure – of course there’s no need for a SASE.

Before you submit any work, read the submission guidelines thoroughly. Some publishers do not accept sample work via Email.

Now, you are ready to write your own cover letter.

Liana Metal is a teacher, artist and freelance writer based in Europe.