Yesterday I spent some time researching cover letters for short stories. I’m one of those people that likes to be prepared. Submitting a short story to a magazine or journal is a big deal, so why wouldn’t you be prepared? Apparently, there are a lot of folks who don’t follow this line of thinking. The first resource I found was an article written by author, Robert J. Sawyer from 1997:
My wife Carolyn Clink and I recently edited the Canadian SF anthology Tesseracts 6 — and we were shocked by how many people didn’t know how to handle these two companions to any good submission.
Though the article was written over a decade ago, it appears the format for short story cover letters has changed little. One notable difference is the now scarce SASE. Many publishers, big and small, encourage electronic submissions via email or their own online submission system. So don’t forget to include your email address in your cover letter! You’ll also want to make sure your document is in the correct file format (.doc, .rtf, etc.). Most publications have submission guidelines on their websites. And remember, a cover letter for a short story is not a query letter for your novel. Editors want it kept short and sweet. They’re also not fond of having their name misspelled, so triple check everything!
My Sample Cover Letter (Download PDF):
Your Telephone Number
Your E-mail Address
Dear Editor [or Editor’s Name]:
Enclosed is my 3,500 word short story entitled “Attack Cat Conquers Mars” for consideration in Feline Fantasy. My work has been previously published in Feline Horizons and Catsworld.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
*Attack Cat Conquers Mars is a fictional title, as are the publications. Sorry!
Easy as pie. When I first thought about writing a cover letter for a short story I panicked, just a little. I hope other budding writers find this post helpful and stress relieving.