How do you do it? Cover Letters.


How do you write Cover Letters for submission to publications? I struggle.

I have received great advice, but have yet to find an ease with it.

It is hard to achieve the right tone and I don’t want to sound overly chatty or too formal. But, I also want to fan my feathers without boasting.

How do you do it?

Advice most welcome.

10 thoughts on “How do you do it? Cover Letters.

  1. I went to a publishing workshop with Donna Ward from Inkerman and Blunt, and she said to write a cover letter in the following format and keep it under 500 words:

    Dear Donna,
    I’m (name). I’ve written a book called (title). It’s about (summarise in a couple of sentences, but use your best prose to show what a good writer you are).
    My story explores (themes).
    My book would fit into the (genre/category), and could be likened to (name writer/s you think are similar.
    I am (write a few sentences about yourself, writing qualifications, publications, any awards or commendations).
    I also blog at (name blog and how many subscribers), and am on (Facebook/Twitter and number of followers).
    Sincerely, etc.

    She said there’s no recipe, but just keep doing it. I know my first ones were very dry and did me no favours. Anyway, I hope this is helpful. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Louise. This is great. Particularly for those writing novel length fiction.

      I have found some good examples of this form. And, I see how they can be adapted to suit submissions to journals for excerpts, prose works and poems. I do think it’s a little bit of a trade secret, however, and would love to collect several templates on this post so we can perhaps feel a little less like it’s a stab in the dark.

      Particularly because journals tend to be quite different to each other in terms of style/tone/content, then I think the letters need to be as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Right, well, as far as novels go, I’ve had a really hard time finding the right ‘tone’ to use when submitting queries. For me, I tend to do boring queries except when I describe the novel. Then I try to use a voice similar to what’s in the book, for example I tend to lean towards the literary,so I try to use more elegant language, as long as I can do so without being overbearing. Like: “Nate’s bleak history is written on his skin, track marks from time spent as a heroin addict, scars from an abusive mother.” If the book was YA, written in a conversational tone, you’d want an entirely different voice.
        My two cents, anyway. I’ve not been terribly successful, so take that with a grain of salt.
        I love the peacock!


      • Bah. I am not getting notification of comments. Will have words with the press of the words. Your insights are really helpful. I’m writing short stories and have seen contradictory advice – but hope in the next few months to have worked out a few shareable templates. I think that’s all we need / want. Isn’t it?

        Liked by 1 person

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