Monday, July 30, 2012
to the letter...
That's how you should follow guidelines. True story. If you want to have the best possible shot of getting your work accepted you should follow the guidelines to the T. But everyone knows that right? (Well, you'd be surprised. Just read THIS). I'm going to take it one stop further and say, "Always include a cover letter."
This little bit of wisdom (pardon me while I choke on that word related to self, but hey, it's the only word I can think of) comes from the fact that multiple times I've received submissions with absolutely NO cover letter. Not even a short two line:
"Dear Editor Person,
Attached is my story AWESOME STORY for your anthology call AWESOME ANTHOLOGY CALL.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Author Type Person"
Do you know how long that just took me? Four and a half seconds. I timed myself.
Now, your typing speed might be faster or slower than mine, but my humble point is this: Take the time to be courteous and kind. If the editor chooses not to read your brief intro, then so be it. But YOU took the time to be professional and friendly and I'll say it again, courteous. Which costs you nothing and can mean everything.
You never know when you are cultivating a relationship with an editor/publisher. You never know when that one submission might lead to more. And bottom line, it's just the right thing to do. If a call says "No Cover Letter Necessary", well fine, feel free to skip it. But I say, (again humble opinion) include a brief two liner anyway. It is the human element. It is the polite element. It is just the right thing to do.
You would not walk into a job interview, toss your resume on the desk and let the resume speak for itself, right? You'd sit down and engage in a few minutes of interaction with the person you wanted to hire you. It's the same thing. Don't skip the cover letter, no matter how brief.
Because you just never know. Every submission is the door to unknown possibilities.
Humble opinion/rusty two cents endeth.
Have a great Monday!