Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cover letters: First Impressions are Important

When you go to a job interview you make sure your nailpolish isn’t chipped and that your clothes are clean, neat and appropriate. You should act exactly the same with a cover letter when you send your book to a publishing house or agent.
Proofread it. Polish it. Get a critical friend to check it for grammar, spelling and punctuation. Make sure you have done exactly what the publisher/agent asked you to do. If they said provide a one page summary of the book that means one page. And not one page in 20 point font or 6 point font either.
If they ask for a brief personal biography they mean a writing-related biography. List any publishing credits or experience you have. No matter how cute your kitten is, the publisher does not want to know about it.
KISS = Keep it short and simple.
If your cover letter is messy or irrelevant or does not provide the information they asked for, the chances of the agent/publisher reading your book diminish greatly.
Helen Woodall


Amarinda Jones said...

Yes, I agreed with all that but I also say take a punt and just write as who you are. There are so many publishers out there now desperate for writers because so many established writers have truned indie. Turning indie is where you need a good editor

Helen Woodall: Freelance Editing said...

Thank you for raising that point Amarinda.
For Indie publishing you MUST pay a good editor to check your book. The few very bad self-published books out there have made readers wary and they need to know they can trust you to continue providing excellent, top quality stories.