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Cover Letters

May 16, 2010

It’s been a while since I freaked out over a cover letter.  It’s just a quick, “Hi, read my story, I’ve sold stuff before, thanks,” and that’s all it’s really supposed to be.  But yesterday I found myself slightly frantic on the subject the way I was when I started out ten years ago.

What caused the stress spike?  I guess the recent addition of legitimate credentials, that being my WotF win/sale.  I feel like those words have jumped off the page at some semi-pro editors (never had gotten the time of day from ASIM before).  Not that the cover letter sells the story, but it can predispose an editor or slusher to expect to like the story instead of expecting to reject it.  In other words, the story still has to sell itself, but a good cover letter might move the story from the bottom shelf to the endcap display.  (Too much retail metaphor?)

I’m thinking about it too much.  I know the big magazines seldom buy out of slush, but it does happen.  And it only has to happen once to lend more credibility to my future cover letters.  I’m pretty sure I’ve already written my second pro-sale story.  Is it the emotionally drenched E.E. which is on its way to Analog tomorrow?  Or the satirical T.W.H.D.o.t.G.M.P. I recently sent to Strange Horizons?  T.R.M. is in the Bull Spec editor’s inbox, but that seems a long shot (the story, not the market).

My cover letter for Analog seems a little wordy.  I may change it (he obsessed further).  I seldom include my master’s degree anymore, but a math degree lends a little credibility to my calculus allusions in E.E., so it’s in there.  The WotF win is mentioned, too, (first).  I’ll likely cut the sampled list of semi-pro zines since none are of particularly high notoriety that I am aware (though several are very fine markets).  An ASIM publication (not just a hold) would be noteworthy, or GUD (a very well-spoken-of market I am yet to explore).  If the market name doesn’t make the editor nod knowingly, it isn’t worth mentioning.  The one exception might be the Triangulation anthology since Asimov’s has reviewed it favorably the last few years, but maybe that reference should be saved for submissions to Asimov’s.  Like I said, I’m overthinking.  I need to just take the envelope to the post office and send it.

It’ll be in the mail tomorrow.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 17, 2010 5:14 am

    Yeah, just get it in the mail (though maybe put the Triangulations in there, it seems like a good thing to list).

    ASIM btw, does blind readings for the first two phases, so it is the quality and subject matter of the story that got you through, I bet 🙂

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