Writing a Cover Letter for Submissions

by Stella Mazur Preda

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A well-written cover letter is the publisher or editor’s first introduction to you, the author, a way for you to get noticed and most importantly – to get your work read.

As a publisher, I would like to suggest the following tips to keep in mind when writing a cover letter for submissions to anthologies, journals, magazines, etc.

  1. Keep it short, to the point and professional, even if it is only a small press publication. Your cover letter should be no longer than one (1) page.

  2. The cover letter, as well as all submissions, should be typed. DO NOT HANDWRITE OR PRINT. This makes your work look very unprofessional. If you don’t have computer, use a friend’s or visit the public library. You have free access to computers there.

  3. All poetry submissions should be typed single spaced using a legible standard font such as TIMES ROMAN, 12 PT. Prose submissions are always double-spaced. Never use fancy fonts. Publishers and editors are not impressed by these. If they have to struggle to read your work, they will most likely discard it without reading.

  4. The writing and formatting of a cover letter should be similar in style to that of a business letter. Aligned left, start with the date (fully written out); then 2-3 spaces and your address; spaces and the address to which you are sending; then spaces and the salutation (if you know the publisher or editor’s name, use it here).

  5. Next is the body of your letter. Open with a sentence similar to this “Please find enclosed the following poems – (list the titles here) to be considered for publication in your journal _______”.

    Do not forget to include your contact information such as phone number or email address … e.g. “Should the need arise I can be reached at (phone number) or (email address).

  6. Signature block at end of letter … close with “Best Regards” or “Thank you for considering my work” or something along that line. Leave about 4 spaces down for your signature and then type your name. Sign your name in ink just above your typed name.

  7. Place all your submissions in a full size envelope (9” x 12”) and if at all possible type the address and return address labels. Remember, your work looks more impressive and thoughtful on your part if it arrives without all the folded creases of using smaller envelopes.

Please remember these are suggestions. Use them or alter them to suit your own needs.

Best of luck with all your submissions!

At a later date, I will follow with suggestions for submitting manuscripts to publishers.

Stella Mazur Preda’s poetry has appeared in many Canadian, and some US, literary journals and anthologies. Her first book of poetry, Butterfly Dreams, was published in 2003. Stella is owner and publisher at Serengeti Press. She is a current member of several poetry groups and serves on the Literary Committee of the Hamilton Arts Council. Her 2nd poetry book, The Fourth Dimension, will be released in the spring of 2012.

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