Q: What do I include in a cover letter?

A: A cover letter accompanying a submission to a journal or magazine can be short and simple. Simply indicate that you’re submitting your work, and its title, but do not mention anything about it. This would more likely get your work rejected even before it’s read. You might indicate why you chose to send this particular piece to this particular publication, and why you see it as a good fit. This demonstrates your knowledge of our publication and your mindfulness in our submission process.

Also, include brief biographical information. Do not give us your life story; select a few relevant details that highlight your accomplishments. You might mention where you studied creative writing, where your creative work has been published or any awards or accolades you’ve received. If you have no credits, don’t worry. While accolades certainly build confidence in your writing abilities, the real focus is in the writing itself, as there is no substitute. We will never publish a story based on your other achievements or overall status as an author. We never make decisions based on work in your cover letter.

Do not copy and paste cover letters. We hate seeing the wrong magazine name in the cover letter mast head.

Be honest and keep the tone professional and friendly. This suggests respect—for your own writing and the work and time of our editors.