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Old 01-08-2013, 01:44 AM   #1
McGill
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Highlights Fiction Contest Question

Just a quick question about submitting to Highlights Fiction Contest, or any contest really. Do you submit a cover letter with any publishing credits you may have, and a quick synopsis of the story? Or do you just submit the story with no cover letter? Thanks!
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:45 AM   #2
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Contests tend to have their own set of submission guidelines posted on the website. But if you want to know the general rules it's basically:

Double-spaced lines.
Proper formatting.
Name of contest and entry's title in heading of email.
Address to judge/head of department running contest (do research - not only is it good to know who you're pitching to, research will most likely also turn up all the contest 's rules).
Keep the email sorry and concise - confirm that you ARE writing to enter the contest, how long the entry is, genre (if it's not a genre-specific), and end with your name.

But, really, check the website. I'm pretty sure a magazine as big as Highlights will have a whole page devoted to submission guidelines. Take your time to research your market, same as any other submission.

Dave

Edited to Add: Five seconds. That's all it took for me to find the submission details on their website:

http://www.highlights.com/highlights-fiction-contest

I'm not trying to be snappish, but you really should research your target market, and that includes individual submission guidelines. There are no 100% constant rules, so you be to constantly aware of the different demands.

Best of luck!
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Authors warn me writing children's books is a lot of work - signings, school events, literary festivals, a blog, etc. I always reply "I WANT THAT!"

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Old 01-09-2013, 12:20 AM   #3
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Thanks for answering Dave, I appreciate it. I had already read those guidelines, but my question was about a cover letter, which wasn't mentioned. I guess maybe the fact that it wasn't mentioned is the answer to my question. I decided to just send the story, sans cover letter or synopsis. Thanks for your post!
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:52 AM   #4
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You're welcome - sorry again if I came across a bit snappish, you didn't mention you'd already checked the site. But looking back at the site I'd say yeah, you're fine just sending as is - if the entries are to be sent to an address (email or postal) that include the word contest or competition in it anywhere, then that's ALL that address is for, so they'll know your letter is for the contest they're holding at the time.

It's usually only if they're asking you to send to their usual address that they request you state that your letter is an entry.

Good luck, again!

Dave
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Authors warn me writing children's books is a lot of work - signings, school events, literary festivals, a blog, etc. I always reply "I WANT THAT!"

I don't claim to be a professional (yet). I just try and help others when and where I can.

Follow me @symplesymon
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:34 AM   #5
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Smile

Thanks Dave!
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:50 PM   #6
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I usually submit a very brief cover letter. Here's my submission, description of story, thanks for looking at it. This seems more professional than sending no letter at all, but I don't waste their time with info that isn't relevant to the contest or requested in the guidelines.

I got a revision request from a contest submission once. That's why I think the professional appearance counts.
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Old 06-22-2013, 06:56 AM   #7
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I have always subbed to those Highlights fiction contests without a cover letter. And FWIW, I'm a frequent contributor. I've also heard that at least one winner subbed without a cover letter. However, I think you'd be totally fine to sub WITH a cover letter too! It wouldn't hurt your chances or anything. I just don't think it's necessary. That's my two cents.

I always wondered the same thing, though! Because with regular subs, of course I DO include a cover letter.
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