By Lea Schizas
Why is it
that cover letter brings ‘the bag over the head’ hyperventilation on a writer? As writers, we manage to finish
a manuscript yet panic, hands epileptically shake, and our muse disappears once the pen is poised to write the cover letter.
A cover letter
is a one page, short letter to the editor/publisher. Oh, wait, now I get it. Everything rides on that small introduction to
the editor. Well, okay, now it makes sense. You need to summarize a whole novel in one paragraph, tell the editor a bit about
yourself in another short paragraph.
If you have
read enough articles, books, and studied novel or even short story beginnings, you should know that a beginning is the most
crucial aspect of a book. Well, think of the cover letter in the same way. Entice, grab, intrique the editor in your cover
letter in as few words possible and he’ll request to either read the first three chapters or the whole manuscript –
you lucky duck!
the editor is your reader. He has no clue what your book is about. Think of the cover letter as your personal ad to who you
are as a writer, your capability to grab a reader’s interest.
‘in your face’ thing they’ll see, however, is ‘Dear Editor’. Always try to find out the editor’s
name you are addressing your cover/query to unless they stipulate in their guidelines to send it to the Acquisitions Editor.
Then it won’t be ‘Dear Editor’ but ‘Dear Acquisitions Editor’. Hey, if that’s what they
want, then that’s what you will give them. Don’t mess around with a publisher’s guidelines or you may end
up in the SLUSHPILE.
tip I’ll emphasize is this:
though your life depended on it…no, just joking!
essence of your storyline with your creative and pulling writing voice. Don’t sound robotic, telling, stale, office-like
– jump right in and pull that editor with your very first sentence.