Writing a cover letter for submission is, at first glance, a waste of time, maybe even added stress. But in reality the point of a cover letter is not to make your life any harder. For the editors receiving your writing, a cover letter is a great way to gauge who you are and how important your writing is to you.
Of course, there is a rhythm to writing a cover letter. It's important that your message includes your name, a brief background, something about your writing, and an ending. As if that's not simple enough, you'll find hundreds of cover letter formulas on the internet, including one right here, that will serve your needs just fine. Although, for us, it's not in the least important how well-written your message is, I'd be lying if I said I don't hope for a little creative spark in those we receive.
Here's an example of a format I find desirable in a cover letter, free for the taking:
My name is Jane Doe. I'd like you to consider my 3,498-word short fiction piece entitled "Insert Title Here." I'm a sixteen-year-old sophomore from East Kentucky and I've been writing stories and essays tirelessly both for my own satisfaction and for the advocacy program at my school. I hope I can make a difference here as well.
In "Insert Title Here," a cheeky young orphan finds a home in a place no one would ever expect, until a growing delusion begins to tear her apart. The first readthrough may seem strange and fantastical, but I pulled some truths from my own life and what I have read about the lives of others.
Thank you kindly for your consideration.
*Replace the necessary items with your information.
It's important to note that this isn't perfect. There is no one way to write a cover letter, so it's vital that you hit on what is absolutely essential. Be sure to include if you're submitting simultaneously, and, for our journal, be sure to include any relevant content warnings (CWs).
Best of luck!
Paris is an editor for Paper Crane.