“How to Write Amazing Cover Letters” by Joan Y. Edwards
A cover letter is not the same as a query letter. A query asks for permission to send a manuscript.
A cover letter encloses or attaches a manuscript along with it. Sometimes editors or agents request a chapter or a whole manuscript. If you’re attaching or enclosing a book manuscript or article, you need a cover letter to accompany it.
You want your cover letter to be amazing. You want it to grab the editor’s attention. You want a YES, we’ll publish your book. So here are 7 steps to an amazing cover letter.
When you write a cover letter, do the following:
- Address a certain person if possible.
- Make it only one page, business format, single-spaced, your name and address and date in right hand corner. The publisher name and editor or agency name and agent and address listed on left hand side.
- Lead off with the short selling pitch/blurb of 25 words or less for your manuscript. A pitch is an eye-catching, heart-trapping summary of your book or article. It can also be called your “Hook.” Ask your critique group or partner to help you formulate a good pitch. Write your pitch on a 3×5 card. If you can’t get it all written on the front side of the card, it’s too long. Here are articles about writing a pitch:
- “A Selling Pitch Is Short with a Strong Emotional Tug:” https://www.joanyedwards.com/2014/06/22/a-selling-pitch-is-short-with-a-strong-emotional-tug/
- “Write Your Pitch First:” https://www.joanyedwards.com/write-your-pitch-first/
- “How to Deliver a Short, Gutsy Pitch to Entice Editors, Agents, and Readers:” https://www.joanyedwards.com/2011/09/15/how-to-deliver-a-short-gutsy-pitch-to-entice-editors-agents-and-readers/
- Tell why you and your book or illustrations are a good fit for this publisher or agent. Mention one book published by the editor or represented by the agent that is similar to yours and tell how your book would hook and attract readers to it.
- Give your publication credits. If you don’t have any, mention that you’re a member of SCBWI, or other literary group that also has a good reputation with publishers.
- Tell if this is an exclusive submission (only submitting to this editor or agent for three months or a simultaneous submission (more than one publisher or agent at a time).
- Include a Call for Action and thank you. Ask a question or proclaim a statement of why you want this particular publisher or agent to do. Thank them.
Put the editor’s name
Would you be interested in publishing my book? Then give your pitch.
“I’d be honored if you’d consider publishing my book.” Then give your pitch. Close with: “Thank you for considering (put name of manuscript).”
Sample Questions for Agents
“Will you represent me as my agent?”
“I’d be honored if you’d consider being my agent.”
“Thanks for considering me.”
Here are three good sources for cover letters:
- Ginny Wiehardt. “Cover Letter Advice.”Fiction Writing.com http://fictionwriting.about.com/od/thebusinessofwriting/tp/coverslettershowto.htm
- John Floyd. “Cover Me – I’m Going In!” http://www.writing-world.com/queries/floyd.shtml
- Moira Allen. “Cover Letters: When, How and Why to Use Them.” http://www.writing-world.com/queries/cover.shtml
Good luck with the publication of your writing and illustrating. Thank you for reading my blog. Please feel free to leave comments and ask questions.
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Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards
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