That somebody may flag a previous contributor, a person whose submission has been solicited, or someone who has been asked to send again.But you cannot expect the editor will definitely see the letter, nor will a letter make the editor read the story differently than other work in the pile.If a cover letter is part of the set-up, use the right name for the editor you are approaching, spelled correctly.You can include one sincere sentence about the magazine to show that you have really read it.I told my questioners, if they didn’t believe me, to look at Dan Chaon’s interview in , and Facebook (where journals have community pages which will send you helpful reminders of when they are reading), and start to make a list of magazines to investigate. A good tip: go in together with four other people and each subscribe to a couple of journals, and then share them. Then you can discuss the work that was chosen, which can be a great amplification of your usual workshopping.What do these pieces have (or not have) compared to the work you and your friends are writing?The editor wants nothing more than to read something so fresh and powerful and polished there is no question it must be in the journal. The editor reads till unable to process any more, goes to get some more coffee, and starts again, resolving not to give in to the temptation to say no as fast as possible in order to shrink the pile on the table, or the long list of files on the computer.
It’s fine to cite winning a contest, but 12 place just says 11 were ahead of you. Upon arrival, your information may be read by someone opening the mail or logging files.What you send should not be full of explanations, plot summaries, testimonials (“my friends love it”) and pleas (“Even if you must reject, please send me comments.”).Put your creativity, humor, and sensibility into the work you submit. Do not take the rejection slip, underline words or phrases on it, and send it back with a scrawled note saying: “‘Doesn’t suit your needs at this time? Well, who cares about you and your pretentious magazine that I never liked anyway, etc., etc.” When people do this, editors post the missives in the office, to be mocked as coming from an immature writer who completely misunderstands how impersonal this is.There may be two editors, or five, or a rotating group of a dozen student-editors on a board, but for purposes of this essay, let’s consider one who, if not totally in charge, has a large say in what goes on.This editor is committed to the magazine, to it reaching a readership, to its identity and survival. Please can’t somebody just dazzle me so I can pick something and stop this?You and the editor are not going to be on a wavelength.) Other than demonstrating that you have done your homework, essentially a cover letter or uploaded statement conveys information about what genre your submission is in and who you are.