19 August 2008

Advice Worth Repeating . . .

It surprises me how many stories we get that have a few strikes against them before I even get past the first page. The feeling you want to give an editor when you submit a story is that he or she is in good hands. With that in mind, here are a few "don'ts" (that I may have mentioned before):

1. Don't skip the cover letter completely. Writing nothing but "2000 words" says to me you don't much care about the submission.
2. Don't include details about any pets in the cover letter. I don't want to know about your cats, dogs, chickens, etc--even if sounds funny when you write it.
3. Don't include a synopsis of the story.
4. Don't include a title page.
5. Don't lie about the word count or "forget" about it when it is too long.
6. Don't include a "copyright" notice in your story. 
7. Don't use some huge font for your story title.
8. Don't waste your first few paragraphs. Show me it is a story I want to read right away. 


Don said...

What would you like to see in a cover letter?

lesleylsmith said...

Good question, Don.:)
Dave, you seem a bit cranky. :(

Anonymous said...

I second Don's question. If all the info on the cover page is repeated on the first page of the story, contact info, number of words, what else is there? I don't have any credits so why bother.

David E. Hughes said...

Good question. I guess I did come off as a bit grumpy. Here's a form cover letter you can use. The second sentence is optional depending if you have credits:

Dear Editor:

Please consider my 3000-word story, "The Life and Times of a Purple Alien" for publication in Electric Spec. My short fiction has appeared in Lone Star Stories, McSweeny's, and Afterburn. Thank you for your consideration.


Joe Author
123 S. Mable Drive
Juno, AK