I read today story collections are almost extinct.
Few people read stories.
An agent would be a fool to represent it.
I am one of the only writers at a writing group that puts some focus into story composition; not just a novel.
Yet, many literary magazines, ezines and blogs fight to keep this art alive. In the fight and competition there exists promising new writers and emerging authors.
Before you send your story, you must come face-to-face with another almost vanished art. You need to send a cover letter.
It sounds corporate. A cover letter sounds too business-ish. Some of you feel the tie squeeze your neck, or those closed toe shoes suffocate your toes.
The reality is a cover letter helps show off who you are. While some magazines place less importance on a letter than others, most publications like a cover letter.
A cover letter hows:
Shows You Care.
Mention something about the magazines. Publications prefer you to read back issues and stories on their website. If you cannot afford a subscription for whatever reason, at least research a magazine’s website. Read about the editors and their assistants.
You’ll find answers to these questions:
What is the page or word limit?
Is the publication mostly student run?
Do they like satire, children’s stories or do they despise stories about dogs, etc.?
Think of looking at a website as getting to know the magazine.
- Introduces You: Do not worry if you’re an unpublished writer. All I had going for me in the beginning was the fact I worked as a staff writer at a small community newspaper in the middle of North Carolina. It was a start.
Mention your experience. If you’re a cop, be proud you’re a cop. Tell what kind of cop you are, unless you’re a top-secret investigator or undercover officer.
A cover letter need only be a half-page to one page. Make sure you address the specific magazine or editor. If you’re story is nonfiction, you don’t want to send the story to the fiction editor.
Unlike a query letter in which you focus most of your attention on your concept, a cover letter to a magazine offers you more page room to introduce your experience and what you know about the magazine. It also doesn’t hurt to mention your word count.
Every letter is different.
Every writer takes on a different vision.
You’re polished story is most important, but once again go old-school and draft a letter.
By Rebecca T. Dickinson
More Related articles
- On the oft discussed topic of cover letters (humanushr.me)
- FOUR things you should put in a covering letter to an agent or publisher and FOUR things your probably shouldn’t (bridgetwhelan.com)
- Is it necessary to write a cover letter when you are applying for a job? (web-workathome.com)