Short Story Cover Letter

Short Story Cover Letter

Article by Catherine Jordan


So, now you’re submitting a short story and the publisher/editor wants a cover letter. What do you write? Good question.


They don’t want a query letter; it’s still a professional business letter. Find the editor/publisher’s name for your salutation. You might have to do a little digging to find it, but I can assure you, s/he is there. And PLEASE spell their name correctly! Keep the letter succinct—there’s often a word limit of 100 words or less. Skip the throat-clearing and within one sentence give the title, genre, word length, and hook. Get right to the main character—by name. What is the main character’s quest—what does s/he want? Include your bio. This should include your name, and any publishing kudos you have. They don’t care what your day job is unless it directly relates to your book. 


Example of a bio:

A professional writer for 10 years, my short stories appear in anthology collections, such as Don’t Turn Out The Light’s, a tribute to Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, Mainstreet Rag’s Crossing Lines, and I’ve edited Sunbury Press’s Strange Magic, and Bittersweet. My first two novels are currently in reedits at Sunbury Press. I am a volunteer and member at HWA and ITW, and am a contributor to, and “TheBurg Magazine”.  –75 words


You can flip that bio into 3rd person and shorten it. 

3rd person bio:

Catherine Jordan has authored horror novels, and short stories in anthology collections. She contributes to various online publications. As a member of the HWA, Catherine has mentored, served as an award judge, and is the imailer manager. She also facilitates writing courses and critique groups. –45 words


Let’s say the publication hasn’t specified the main formatting specifications in their submission guidelines. Use Times New Roman, 12 point font, double line spacing, and indent the paragraphs. 

Consider this template:

Please consider my [approximate] word-count story [short story titles are in “quotation marks”, novels get italics] for [name of publication or anthology]. 


This tale [give theme, quest, consequence]. 

[Your name] have authored [name a few published credits here]. [Name any contributions or volunteer positions, various online publications, and writing memberships.]

Thank you,
[your name]

[email address, phone number]

[website, amazon author page, social media links]

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