About Those Cover Letters

As a former literary magazine editor, I found this article contains great insider advice on what to and what NOT to include in cover letters to literary magazines when submitting. Best, Renee

Tahoma Literary Review

When Joe and I first began to kick around ideas for the journal that would become Tahoma Literary Review, a concept we found ourselves returning to again and again was that of transparency. We wanted to foster an ethical, clear, and cooperative model of interaction with our contributors, from making our income statements public to giving detailed notes on our editorial preferences in our submissions guidelines. Lately, I’ve also been asking writers what they wish they knew about what goes on in the editorial side of the submissions process, and not a few people have asked about cover letters: what do editors get out of them, anyway? Do writers really need to provide them? In the interest of answering those questions, I’m devoting today’s blog to what I as an editor look for, care about, and want to see in a writer’s cover letter.

We can skim over the obvious benefits…

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4 thoughts on “About Those Cover Letters

  1. Do you have any idea how to figure out if a magazine or journal wants a cover letter or not if they don’t mention the subject in their submission guidelines?


    • I don’t. Other than: send them an email. I actually corresponded with an editor yesterday because on one web page the market had not listed the submissions deadline for a themed journal edition. He got back with a word of encouragement and interest on the Kathmandu topic I mentioned in the email :). I’m an info glutton – anytime there’s an opportunity to ask one question, I try to ask one or two more. You never know. That person now has seen my name and an interesting topic in his inbox twice now… he may look again when my submission comes in. Windy said these types of contacts bode well. Best, R


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