Top 7 Tips to create a cover letter that will help you stand out from the slush pile.
1. Format the Letter Correctly
Save your creativity for your writing. Stick with the standard business letter format.
And as with anything you submit, use standard copy paper; type, don’t handwrite; and absolutely no illustrations.
2. Address a Specific Person and Pick a Publisher
For the salutation, avoid “To Whom It May Concern.” These days, most editors are listed: take five minutes to find a name. Even if you’re not positive you have the right person, you’ll look more professional for having tried, and the letter will be forwarded to the correct editor. You should have a solid reason for submitting, share it. Make sure you don’t send the wrong name to a different publisher, I’ve done it before and it is soooo embarrassing and doesn’t give you much luck for making it past the slush pile. Pay attention to the little details.
3. Keep It Short
As with a job application cover, letters should not exceed one page. In your first paragraph, explain what you are sending.
4. Short Bio: 70 words
Briefly introduce yourself to the editor in the second paragraph. If you studied writing or have published before, state it here. If you haven’t, that’s fine, too. You just want to provide a context for what they’re about to read.
5. Pitch: Tag Line and Blurb
Make them want to read the story, without giving away the whole plot. Your cover letter is only designed to make them want to give you and your story a chance to make it out of the slush pile. Use a tag line and write as if you were providing a blurb for the back of the book.
6. Simultaneous Submissions
Only let them know if required in submission details
“I have submitted this to another publisher and will let you know immediately if it is accepted elsewhere.”
7. Sign off
Thank them for their time.
Let them know if you have other stories ready for submission.
Include every way in the known universe that they can get in touch with you.