View Full Version : cover letter

12-24-2005, 03:52 AM
Hi, I need to write a cover letter for my proposal package. I am unsure of what to put in it. Some of the samples I have seen on line have varied a great deal. My biggest question is... If I have my synopsis, detailing what my story is about, then how detailed does my cover letter have to be? Do you need to tell eveything that the story is about, or just a little, like a blurb on the back of a book? Also could someone post a sample of a cover letter for a romance novel? Sometimes I just have to see it to get it...

Thanks Cindy

12-24-2005, 06:19 AM
Hi, sugaroo! Cover letters vary from agent to agent, publisher to publisher, but most want the same basics. A blurb about what the book is about, (save major details for the synopsis) what the word count is, what genre (sub-genre if applicable) and in some cases who else is writing the same type. (ie In keeping with the tradition of authors like Maggie Shayne, so-and-so, and so-and-so) They will also want to know other writing credentials you have, such as articles in RWR, other romance books and/or short stories. I believe, (I defer to Cathy and Susan on this one) e-publication counts if you were paid for it? (Cathy? Susan? A little help on this one?) They also want to know if you belong to any orginizations, such as RWA. For an example of a cover letter, I'm posting the one I used for the agent who is currently considering my full ms. I've had decent results with this one in the past.

Dear :

At your request, I am now submitting the complete manuscript of my contemporary romance entitled: Alex. It is approximately 100,000 words in length.

Set in the rural community of San Eduardo, Texas, you are introduced to the rugged, yet slightly insecure hero, Brett Hartman. Having served the last six years of his life at the minimum security prison, The Circle K ranch, Brett has learned that there is more to life than finding his next fix. He has learned skills that will help him become a productive citizen and what's more: he knows that when his sentence is up, he is welcome to stay at the Circle K as an employee. However, everything is turned upside down when the ranch owner's niece arrives to serve her sentence. The heroine, spoiled and arrogant, Alexandra Kincaid is forced to spend the next six months on her Uncle Jason's horse ranch after receiving her third DUI in eighteen months. She doesn't know the first thing about horses or housekeeping, but if she wants to keep her five million-dollar trust fund, then she needs to make the best of it--even if that means being civil to the sarcastic, argumentative cook, Brett. Laced with comedy, sexual tension and self-discovery, [i]Alex shows that not all knights wear shining armor and sometimes, the damsel rescues her knight.

Though I have as of yet to be published, I have been a member of RWA since July 2005.

Once again, I wish to thank you for taking the time to consider my work and I hope that you find my manuscript to be what you are looking for. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.


Sonarbabe [of course, you'd use your real name here]

I'm sure there are far better cover letters out there, since I'm horrible at writing these things, but here is an example of at least one. Hopefully, someone who has more experience with writing these can add theirs as well.

Hope I was helpful!


Cathy C
12-26-2005, 08:05 PM
Hi, sugarooo1, and welcome to the Water Cooler!

Sonarbabe gives a good example of a query letter, which is what I think you're referring to as a "cover" letter. Actually, a query letter and a cover letter are two different things. In a query letter, you're both giving information about yourself AND trying to interest the agent/publisher to ask for more of the book (hence the term "query" - you're asking for permission to send more.)

Here's a link to another thread where I walked through a query letter, and several other people gave other links to samples, so you can see a couple of different styles.


Good luck with it and let us know if you have any more questions!

Tim Gasolene
12-27-2005, 10:24 PM
"Cover letter" is an introduction - of yourself and your work. It is usually sent after you have received a positive reply to your query, or as a companion to an unsolicited manuscript.

The cover letter is sent along with your whole work (novel/story). Thus, the agent/publisher knows what is in the package, and who sent it.
If the manuscript is unsolicited, i.e. the agent/publisher has no idea what the work is about, you need to add a full synopsis as well.
Start the cover letter by saying that you are submitting your manuscript, which is about... (summarize your work in couple of sentences). You may also compare your work to other, already popular, works of the same kind. Then, briefly introduce yourself - professional and educational background. Mention any writing achievements.

12-31-2005, 03:12 AM
Thanks for the great advice. I was given instruction to send a synopsis, first three chapters and a cover letter. I just was a little unsure about what to put in it. Thanks Cindy