You've written that short story or novel. Now what?

The subject of cover letters can be confusing. Books have been written on the subject, such as: How to Write Attention Grabbing Query and Cover Letters, or this one with the catchy title: Science Fiction Writer's Workshop-I by Barry B. Longyear. Or you can find several references in this list of writing books at BOOKS ON WRITING SPECULATIVE FICTION.

Or you can use the Web. Some of the more interesting links are:

Not all agree on what is the best way of submitting a manuscript. Check the following link where one author disagrees quite a bit with another's suggestions.

But the web is constantly changing. So if the links above are bad, let us know and try Googling the string: "science fiction" writing "cover letters" -resume. That will get you about 2000 hits. (The "-resume" is to remove cover letters for resumes.)

There is only one rule: Give the editor what he/she wants. Unless you're on speaking terms with the editor in question this can be difficult.

Cover Letters for Short Stories

Check the submission guidelines of the publisher. The guidelines vary from those of Analog and Fantasy and Science Fiction which do not mention cover letters, to Asimov's Science Fiction which says, "Enclose a cover letter if you like," to -- Amazing Stories which says, "Please mail us your finished ms with a cover letter and a list of published credits."

Cover Letters for Book Submissions

Book submissions are different than short story submissions. These publishers tend to hide submission guidelines in FAQs. Check out - Random House or Tor books.

Query Letters

Query letters are used for non fiction works. In them the author or agent asks the publisher if they are interested in the work of the author. Here is a link if you are interested.

Submitted by Dave K., 2004

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Thu, 05/02/2013 - 1:42pm

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