WritersBeat.com
 

Go Back   WritersBeat.com > Writing Craft > Publishing

Publishing Ask and post advice about the publishing process. Discuss new media and options.


Cover letters

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 06-27-2006, 02:11 PM
alia43's Avatar
alia43 (Offline)
Eloquent Troll
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Michigan
Posts: 297
Thanks: 0
Thanks 0
Send a message via AIM to alia43 Send a message via MSN to alia43
Cover letters


Hi everyone!
I am working on sending my book to a publisher and you have to have a cover letter. What does a cover letter say? and how long should it be?
Thanks in advance
~Alia

__________________
Today is where your book begins. The rest is still unwritten. ~Natasha Beddingfield
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 06-29-2006, 09:18 AM
phiddipus (Offline)
Award Winning Lobster
Official Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: san diego
Posts: 41
Thanks: 0
Thanks 0
Default

Here's one I sent to EQ:

Dear Editor,

I am submitting a manuscript for consideration. This short story is 2,844 words. It falls under the genre of “hard boiled,” in that it deals with criminals rather than mystery.

While good behavior is often rewarded, sometimes an individual is tested and found ethically wanting. In this case, the protagonist is given the opportunity to make the right decision, and chooses to betray the hospitality of a couple of helpful farmers in the isolated hill country of Central California.

I am enclosing a SASE, return of the manuscript is not necessary.

Thank you for your consideration,

With a novel, you will also want to include a good synopsis of the ms.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-29-2006, 11:01 AM
alia43's Avatar
alia43 (Offline)
Eloquent Troll
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Michigan
Posts: 297
Thanks: 0
Thanks 0
Send a message via AIM to alia43 Send a message via MSN to alia43
Default

thank you! so it doesn't have to be very long and basically states the genre and what the main theme is.
for a synopsis, do you know how long it might have to be?
__________________
Today is where your book begins. The rest is still unwritten. ~Natasha Beddingfield
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-01-2006, 08:25 AM
Mridula's Avatar
Mridula (Offline)
Following Time
Official Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Procrastination Centre
Posts: 1,611
Thanks: 0
Thanks 17
Default

Just a question: What does SASE mean?
__________________


Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-01-2006, 09:04 AM
kal's Avatar
kal (Offline)
Still Clicking!
Official Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Le Joli Rouge
Posts: 4,894
Thanks: 44
Thanks 33
Default

self adressed stamped envelope I believe.

So the publisher has to put no effort into returning your work hich icreases the likelihood they will.
__________________
A Girl in Winter.
His lips parted, cracked and dry as he struggled to whisper: "My muse, you're here."
She simply smiled, "Yes, Drake, I am here."
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-10-2006, 01:18 AM
riverstone's Avatar
riverstone (Offline)
Verbosity Pales
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 2,972
Thanks: 0
Thanks 0
Send a message via MSN to riverstone
Default

Alia -

At a recent panel of editors and agents, we were told by them to go to the company's website, download what they ask for and give them what they ask for. If the website isn't detailed, look in the latest directories of publishers at the bookstore or library and see whether the info is better there. There is a directory all the publishers recommend - somewhere in my notes - I'll post it sometime soon.

Give some reason for the editor to bother reading your work - about the work itself - why it fits their publication for example, and about yourself - what your experience is, why you are a writer they should consider - sell yourself - and your piece.

Name your character and tell them what the story is about and how it is handled - Sam Slam is a born liar, out to scam the world. He leaves a trail of broken trust and broken hearts behind him as he navigates through his world. In this short story, en route to a bigger ego, Sam meets his nemesis in the slim form of Betty Beatific, a woman on whom Sam can get no purchase, no matter what scam Sam slams in her direction.... Some concluding sentence and your done with this part.

Tell how the story fits into their areas of interest -
"The Comeuppance of Sam" is a study in human pride and could be classified as a whatever genre. Thus, it fits well within the classes of stories represented in XYZ magazine. Readers who enjoyed "The Cat's Got his Tongue" in your July issue and "She's a Real Doozie" in your March issue, are sure to like this new tale. "The Comeuppance of Sam" is 1863 1/2 words long. (And whatever other things they asked for)

Tell about yourself, your writing experience, anywhere they might be able to read your work -
I have been writing short stories for 367 years minus 366 and a half years, and have been published in the annual flower seed catalog at my local gardening shop, as well as in the local gossip rag. You can read other stories of mine on www.writersbeat.com under the user name Petunia.

Thank you very much for your consideration.
Sincerely,
You Know Who
__________________
If I did not tell you all the changes you might consider, I would be doing you a disservice, treating you with less than the full respect you deserve. This much I have learned from my years teaching and mentoring writers.

Riverstones let the water flow around them.

Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-10-2006, 04:21 AM
Mike C's Avatar
Mike C (Offline)
Legend
Official Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 9,117
Thanks: 99
Thanks 1,572
Send a message via MSN to Mike C
Default

The cover letter for a short and a query for a novel are completely different.

Go to www.foliolit.com where they have some good instructions and some examples.
__________________
لا شيء يدوم‎
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 08-11-2006, 07:10 AM
riverstone's Avatar
riverstone (Offline)
Verbosity Pales
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 2,972
Thanks: 0
Thanks 0
Send a message via MSN to riverstone
Default

Cool site, Mike.
__________________
If I did not tell you all the changes you might consider, I would be doing you a disservice, treating you with less than the full respect you deserve. This much I have learned from my years teaching and mentoring writers.

Riverstones let the water flow around them.

Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-30-2006, 05:28 PM
Geoffrey Robson's Avatar
Geoffrey Robson (Offline)
Intellectually Fertile
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 169
Thanks: 1
Thanks 0
Default

The Devil only reveals itself to a soul that is already doomed. This is a story about the Beast’s first mistake.

Within these pages are the answers to the questions; creation vs. evolution and what is the root of all evil. The reader will be satisfied no matter which side holds their faith.

In this trial of life, that I call CAIN CHRONICLES (113,023 words), the facts are there for all to see. The evidence is in.

It is February 23, 1948. Jim is the minister of a small town deep in a swamp covered Parish of Louisiana. A series of events bring Jim to confront the Beast who calls itself I ONLY. In an effort to break Jim’s faith, I ONLY says that God is nothing more than a dream that cannot come true. The discussion that follows takes them all the way back to existence’s first breath. To prove its point, I ONLY tells Jim three stories that can make even pure evil cringe in a corner.

In the first story, I ONLY shows Jim the worst aspects of human nature. Aldom sends his two sons to kill Vlad III, who lives up to his name “The Impaler”.

In the second story, I ONLY blurs the line between man and animal. Young Mikhail wants only to be a survivor; however his dream never comes true.

In the third story, I ONLY remembers the best of times, when it feasted in the Ukraine during the Harvest Of Sorrow. I ONLY points out that by just rearranging a few words in the mind of one who is pure, one can drive them to commit the ultimate horror.

Jim asks I ONLY how it could not believe that God exists? When it saw the kindness of Jesus, did it think it was only weakness? Jim also asks: I ONLY, were you not there with Abraham and his favorite son? Did you not walk with Moses to the Promise Land? How could you not see? I ONLY defends its actions by answering Jim’s questions with its own interpretations of these events.

With this story that has never been told, comes a marketing plan and a brand new media that is brilliant in its capability to target a world wide audience. This is not opportunity knocking; it is trying to kick your door in. I hope you have the common sense to see who’s there.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-01-2006, 09:26 AM
Mike C's Avatar
Mike C (Offline)
Legend
Official Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 9,117
Thanks: 99
Thanks 1,572
Send a message via MSN to Mike C
Default

Originally Posted by Geoffrey Robson View Post
The Devil only reveals itself to a soul that is already doomed. This is a story about the Beastís first mistake...
I'd research query letters and look at ones that worked before you sent that one out, Geoffrey.
__________________
لا شيء يدوم‎
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 05-21-2007, 07:56 AM
erinss20 (Offline)
Typist
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Indiana, PA
Posts: 76
Thanks: 0
Thanks 0
Default

So pretty much a cover letter is a query letter. I've looked and they seem pretty much the same to me. Is that right?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 05-21-2007, 08:34 AM
starpanda's Avatar
starpanda (Offline)
Heartbreaking Writer of Staggering Genius
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 1,078
Thanks: 0
Thanks 4
Default

Yes you could say a cover letter and a query letter are the same thing. But as MikeC said in an earlier post, they are worded differently depending on the type of work you are submitting.

For example: If you are submitting an actual article where the publication has advertised an open 'slot', the wording would be much different to a proposal letter, which is basically you trying to get the interest of an editor about an article.

However, a cover letter for a novel is completely different wording again.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 05-26-2007, 07:13 AM
OnceUponATime's Avatar
OnceUponATime (Offline)
Heartbreaking Writer of Staggering Genius
Official Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: State of Insanity - I must be in order to start my own paper...
Posts: 1,298
Thanks: 5
Thanks 12
Default

A Cover Letter is just a brief note telling the publisher what they'll find enclosed in the rest of the package you've sent them - a synopsis, manuscript, etc. It's essentially the same kind of letter you'd send along with a resume of your work history when applying for a job. It states what you want, what's included in the letter (or package) and highlights what might interest them about your 'resume' (or manuscript).

A Query Letter is a bit different. They're a little longer and have to be written according to whether you're trying to market a fiction novel or non-fiction novel/article. The one Riverstone posted above is a good example of a snippet from a Fiction Query letter. Query Letters are sent off first to get the publisher or agent interested in your story. If they write or call you back, you then send the manuscript along with a Cover Letter stating that the MS (or Sample Chapter[s]) is/are enclosed.

The Fiction Query Letter is essentially the same thing one will find written in the blurb on the inside of a book cover in a book store - the one you always glance at when you're trying to decide if you're going to buy the book or not. Your Fiction Query Letter IS a blurb and you're trying to get the publisher to buy your book in the same way. It's usually a few paragraphs long and describes the plot in your story very briefly, usually featuring a quickie sketch of your MC and the problems he/she must face in the story, highlighting the plot 'hooks' that you hope will grab the reader's attention. This is much shorter than the Synopsis, usually 3 or more pages long, that provides the plot of your book, written in (essentially) 'outline' form. Also, in your Query Letter, you will want to include a brief description of your past published items, book genre and the 'Target Audience' you wrote the book for. If you wrote a Romance novel, then state simply that you intend for the book to appeal to Women, ages 16-60. A sword & sorcery fantasy novel would probably target Males, ages 13 - 45, etc.


The Cover Letter and the Synopsis are usually part of an overall package you send along with 3 sample chapters from your manuscript when you are querying for publication. Read the publisher's or agent's submission guidelines carefully - some want only the query letter and 3 sample chapters right off the bat, while others may want the whole enchilada (query letter first) then the cover letter later, along with the complete manuscript. These requirements vary & also change as time goes on, so it helps to have a current edition of 'Writer's Market' to point you in the right direction when submitting. For now, just look at it like this:

1. Write your Query Letter (looks like a book blurb), asking the publisher/agent if they want to see more & to contact you if they do. **Note - Most publishers want the Synopsis sent along with the Query Letter first, then if they like it, they'll ask for the entire MS (manuscript), so in that case, you send only the Cover Letter along with the MS 'as requested' AFTER they've already seen the Query Letter & Synopsis.

2. (If they respond) Write your Cover Letter & include it with your Synopsis & 3 sample chapters (or entire manuscript, if that's what they want to see). Check your publisher's Submission Guidelines for their desired order of things to be mailed in.

3. Make sure your letters and MS are all FORMATTED CORRECTLY. MSS are usually done in Courier, Helvetica or Times font (10 characters per inch or '12' point size), 250 words per page (printed only on one side) and 25 lines per page. Print it out on NICE, heavier paper, not cheapo laser paper. Send the MS itself inside the box you bought your 'good' paper in - it's usually just big enough to hold one entire manuscript. DO NOT USE STAPLES OR PAPER CLIPS, and DO NOT PUNCH HOLES & BIND YOUR MS - It must all be in loose sheets, stacked neatly & cleanly in the box. Publishers are sticklers about format, so be sure it's right before you send it off. If you want your MS back (which is a good idea, because 'good' paper is rather expensive & you can then send it to another publisher), include a stamped package that they can putyour stuff into and send back to you. If you don't, they will put it in the round file if they don't publish.

The Non-Fiction Query Letter is different in that it's usually done like a standard 'book proposal' (but much shorter, and more like a book blurb you'd find in the inside cover of a non-fic book you're thinking of buying) in which you describe the subject you've written about, cite the research and sources you've used as well as describe (in a nutshell) what conclusions you've come to and how you've attempted to present these conclusions in the book manuscript. A lot of non-fiction query letters are sent out BEFORE the book has even been written, mainly to get the publisher interested and perhaps give you the 'OK' to go ahead and write the book -- on their dime. An example of this might be that you're in close contact with a celebrity or their family and want to write a 'Tell-All' book about that person (a popular starlet, a singer, a mafia boss, etc), so you would put down in your query letter that you, A., know this person ( or researched them) well enough to write a truthful account of their life; B. HOW you know this - quote sources; C. who would find this book appealing; D., state whether it's an 'Authorized' or 'Unauthorized' Biography and E., if the Publisher is interested in knowing more about this person and the MS you've either written or are GOING to write, to contact you for more details. If you've written other manuscripts or articles that have been published, include those too (your 'Writer's Resume').

Here's a site that describes the differences in Cover Letters and Query Letters:

http://www.underdown.org/mf-cover-and-query-letters.htm

Hope this helps,

J
__________________
Support your local newspaper -- and your local writers.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

-Jillian

Last edited by OnceUponATime; 05-26-2007 at 08:33 AM..
Reply With Quote
Reply

  WritersBeat.com > Writing Craft > Publishing


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
You CAN judge a book by its cover Panthere Noir Writers' Cafe 17 10-05-2006 09:26 PM
Letters My Abusers Project sgagos Introductions 8 10-04-2006 06:52 PM
Orchid : A Literary Review Jay Writing Markets 0 07-09-2006 10:10 PM
American Letters & Commentary Jay Writing Markets 0 06-19-2006 08:33 PM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:19 PM.

vBulletin, Copyright © 2000-2006, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.