Friday, November 19Posted by Shelly Holder
I AM MADLY OBSESSED WITH SEEMING "PROFESSIONAL."
Maybe it's my age, my relative inexperience, my own insecurities about being perceived as a "grown-up" or a need to be seen as a "working writer" when the label "student" is more accurate-- whatever my hangups, they translate into an unhealthy paranoia.
I think about my query letter more than the pieces I submit. (I know, this is backwards. But true.)
So it's FANTASTIC that I just got complimented on the DIRECT QUOTE "wonderful" cover letter I sent in. The editor was impressed that I tailored to the publication and read the archives both, so I guarantee that cover letter is the reason I got accepted to this publication. (YAY!!! Another new market wants to publish me!)
So I Present!
Shelly Holder's Formula to "Wonderful" Cover Letters
1) find out editor's name
2) check gender of editor- twice (website, personal website, social media sites)
3) read archives- ALL of them
4) read editor interview at Duotrope's Digest
5) re-read interview at Duotrope's Digest
6) re-read it a 3rd time
7) read website submission guidelines
8) re-read guidelines
9) read a 3rd time
10) compare with Duotrope's submission quidelines
11) start FIRST DRAFT of cover
12) personalize to market
13) mention author from archives that you identify with (legitimately! don't make this a gimmick)
14) add why you submitted to this market
15) re-read submission guidelines
16) read some of the editor's work if available
17) re-read DD's editor interview
18) re-write cover letter
19) make it polite & professional
20) send and die of brain hemorage
And then hope and pray and burn little offering of crumpled balls of bad drafts until you hear back, and try not to slowly turn into a mewling ball of despair.
I just sent out another submission last night, so I'll let you know how that last sentences goes.
But I currently have not showered, am gorging on junk food, and have a blanket over my head while watching Iron Chef America in the dark without my glasses. And there's ice cream in the freezer calling my name. YES ITS TEN A.M. DON'T JUDGE ME.
What I'm listening to: the wonderful narration of Alton Brown on carrot frosting
What I want most: DO YOU REALLY WANT ME TO ANSWER THIS QUESTIOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNN?