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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Peaslee

Submitting Your Short Story: Writing A Cover Letter

When submitting short stories, you don't send a query—you write a cover letter.

One key difference between a query and a cover letter is the length. In a cover letter, you keep things short 'n sweet. To me, this is a blessing.

Since I'm in the process of submitting some short stories to various lit mags, I wanted to share tips I've learned about writing a solid cover letter:

The Do's and Do Not's of Cover Letter Writing

Do: Read the submission guidelines. Carefully. Editors will tell you what they want from you, and what they don't want.

Do Not: Include superfluous information, including a summary of your story (unless requested in the submission guidelines). You don't need to specify that you have followed the publisher's instructions; you should simply follow the instructions.

Do: Include a few of your relevant writing accomplishments, including awards, publishing credits, and professional writing association memberships.

Do Not: Worry if you don't have writing accomplishments or publishing credits. Everybody has to start somewhere. No good publication is going to hold it against you, and many publications welcome new and emerging writers.

Do: Specify if you are simultaneously submitting the piece to multiple publications. Again, check if the submission guidelines allow simultaneous submissions.

Do Not: Forget to proofread! This is your chance to look professional and make a good impression.

DEFINITELY Do: Check if the publication offers feedback upon request; if they do, request it! As new writers, feedback from publications is wildly important for us (even if it can be painful to read at times).

Okay! But What Should My Cover Letter Look Like?

Here's my current cover letter:

Dear Editor, For your consideration, please see "The Dead Will Dance," a microfiction under 250 words. This is a simultaneous submission. I would greatly appreciate feedback. Bio Jennifer Peaslee is an emerging dark fiction writer with an affinity for fairy tales and folklore. She lives in Atlanta with her two cats, and runs, a community for new and emerging writers. Thank you for your time, Jennifer

And that's that! Title your email (usually "Submission," but again, check the guidelines) and hit send—congrats—all that's left is to wait.

And wait...and wait...

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