20 August 2008

cover letter

More answers to some questions about Dave's post...

Here's your basic cover letter:

Dear Editors,

Please consider my story, ___, for Electric Spec. The story runs XX words and is/isn't a simultaneous submission.

Sincerely, thanks, cheers, whatever,
Betsy Dornbusch

(contact info)

Now for some notes on this and Dave's post:

Dave's really a super nice guy. That was written by an alter-ego editorial gremlin. :D

You can use our names instead of editor, but we assign stories randomly, so it really doesn't matter. It might at other magazines, so check with them.

Unless you tell us differently, we'll assume first rights are available. Incidently, we're not crazy about stories already published on blogs and websites.

Copyrighting a story is amatuerish. You actually own the story as soon as you write it, and I assume you have dated files on your hard drive to prove it. Stories really aren't getting stolen, so don't worry.

Um, synopses of stories--well, heck, if you tell me what the story is about, why should I read the story? It encourages us to be lazy, which is our nature anyway, so don't be an enabler!!

Title pages are for novels. I'm aware that our format link on our sub page isn't working and I need to make a new one. My bad. Basics:

Betsy Dornbusch 4100 words

Lightning Strike

Most people who met Lucas McElroy would say “godlike” was a perfect way to describe him. But those same people would laugh out loud if he suggested he was a real god.

The joke would be on them.

Headers at the top of each page are nice, too, with cool stuff like your name, the story title, and page numbers.

I have credits to list, but sometimes I don't bother to put them in my cover letters. This is because, as an editor, I know other editors could really care less about my credits. They care about the story: this story. I mean, I'd always mention if I'd won a Hugo--that's good cover fodder and some names sell. But even at the top magazines, you'll hear the editors say that it's all about this particular story, not your past ones. Kudos if you've got a bunch of credits, but no worries here if you don't.

I love my dog. She's cute. Her name is Hannah. She keeps me company when I work. Her bed is right by my desk and she bugs me for walks every day. I walk her when I'm trying to sort out something about a story... Do you care? Didn't think so.

I'd add: use your real name and give us your first and last name. We're casual around the office, first name basis with our authors and sometimes "nicknames" with each other. But it's tough to do with initials or no name.

Don't snort like that. Sometimes I get stories with no name at all.

Most of all, keep 'em coming!


lesleylsmith said...

What do you mean by "our format link on our sub page isn't working"? Do I need to fix something?

Betsy Dornbusch said...

We took the link off--you're on top of it. It's me that's not.


David E. Hughes said...

Gremlin here--

Nice job, er, I mean really horrible job, explaining the reasoning behind the "don'ts". I would add that having the word count in the cover letter is nice, er I mean MANDATORY, even though it is included on the first page of the story. If the word count is in the cover letter and I'm trying to decide if I have time to read another story, I don't have to open the attachment to see how long it is. Lazy? Yeah, it is. Sorry about that, er, I mean, that's TOO DAMN BAD!

ssas said...

Right on, gremlin. Speaking of reading, s'pose I should get on that...

Don said...

Umm, copywriting is writing text for advertisements. Copyrighting is asserting intellectual property rights.

Betsy Dornbusch said...

awww, a wise guy, eh?

Even editors mispell sometimes. : )

lesleylsmith said...

Ha ha. Don totally got you, Betsy. :) Don, editors, at least the editors I know, misspell ...often. :)

David E. Hughes said...

Hey! I resemble that comment!