You are trying to be charming/funny in your cover letter, but don’t. Say “hey this is my story, X words, thanks,” and be done.
— E Catherine Octobler (@ECthetwit) October 1, 2015
I would like to make Elise’s job, and that of all editors less painful. I’ve mentioned this before, but the cover letter was the number one source of angst for me when I was first starting out submitting short stories, probably because the only other time I’d encountered cover letters was for job applications. Trust me, they are not the same thing in the publishing world. This is not a query letter. The cover letter is basically just the tag you put on your submission so you’re not flinging a random file into someone’s inbox. A lot of markets don’t even require them.
So let me write your cover letter for you. This is quite literally the cover letter that has accompanied almost every story I’ve sold.
Thank you for considering my story, “[TITLE OF THE MOST MIND-BLOWING SHORT STORY EVER].” It’s about [WORDCOUNT] words long. I’m a [MEMBERSHIP LEVEL OF RELEVANT PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATION], and have published:
[MOST RECENTLY PUBLISHED STORY]
[SECOND MOST RECENTLY PUBLISHED STORY]
[THIRD MOST RECENTLY PUBLISHED STORY]
Thank you again and I hope that you enjoy reading my story!
Feel free to cut and paste. You’re welcome.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Read the submissions guidelines, o writerlings. You should be tattooing them on your eyeballs anyway. But if the great and terrible editors want something that isn’t in my form letter, they will specify it there and you’d best give it to them.