Covering Letters And Article Proposals For Book Authors

by Nick Sanders - Date: 2008-07-25 - Word Count: 485 Share This!

Keeping it short and sweet

The purpose of a covering letter is to let the editor know your name, address, telephone number, the title and length of the piece you are submitting. It is also a matter of common courtesy to include a polite introductory paragraph when you are contacting someone you have probably never met. You should, however, bear in mind that no matter how gentle and kind your editor's disposition, he or she will not be the slightest bit interested in your personal life. A lengthy discourse on your home, family and the reasons which led you to take up a career is of no consequence. All that the editor wants to know about is what you have submitted, and whether you have any relevant experience in the publishing world.

You should certainly tell an editor if you have had any other pieces published and where they appeared. Keep it short and to the point and the editor will take you seriously.

Setting out a proposal

Proposals for articles and series should be set out in a similar manner to the outlines for the articles themselves and include the following points:

* The subject - what the article is about
* The content - a brief resume
* Background - if necessary, reference to your credentials and source material substantiating the facts
* Details of the illustrations
* Reader appeal - what makes you think it is suitable for readership?
* Topicality - is it current or intended to coincide with a specific event?

Selling the idea

Before you begin, think what the proposal is for. It is a 'selling statement' - a method of capturing an editor's interest. It is up to you to convince an editor that once they agree to a feature, the article you produce will be written exactly to their specification. Don't be obscure here in your writing here, as causing confusion at this stage will mean that the editor may even stop reading your proposal at this stage.

Resubmitting after rejection

Because the short story market is so limited, once a magazine has rejected your story, it may be difficult to place it elsewhere. Initially it is worth trying a similar publication, but if the same story has been rejected by any more than four magazines, then you need to take a long hard look at the manuscript before you send it again to any other magazine. Never be tempted to rewrite and resubmit to an editor who has already rejected it.

However, you could:
* Rewrite it completely in a different style for another market.
* Rework the characters and rewrite the ending to suit a gentler or a tougher format.

For better results though, you are best to have your work proofread and copyedited by an experienced editor who works on similar pieces day after day. Using a professional editor to read through your work could mean the chance between securing your first published piece and it ending up in the bin. Get it write first time.

Related Tags: copywriting, editing, copyediting, proofreading, proofreading service

Nick Sanders is the owner and founder of, an online proofreading and editing services company, specialising in book author proofreading and editing services. You should visit them if you are looking for a professional proofreading service

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