Posted by: nancyisanders | January 12, 2015

Writing Opportunity: Cover Letter

Here’s how I wrote the second paragraph of my cover letter for submitting my nonfiction manuscript to Kaeden Books:

Second Paragraph
Sentence #1:

As author of XX, I recently read in the Institute of Children’s Literature e-news that you have a particular need for unique non-fiction manuscripts.

Any time I find a call-out from a publisher for a particular need, I ALWAYS mention it in the cover letter of my submission. This lets them know that I’m not submitting blindly but am specifically targeting their particular needs. This is a great way to rise quickly to the top of a slush pile of manuscripts.

This was also the sentence I mentioned a little blurb about my publishing credentials. Don’t worry if you don’t have many things published yet or don’t even have anything published yet. Some publishers prefer working with first time authors. Others have other preferences. In the end, they’ll look at your manuscript itself and judge it for its own merit. But if you really want to start getting published credits, do like what I do and start writing for the no-pay/low-pay markets. That will build your publishing credits quickly so next time you WILL have something to put in this spot.

So if you don’t want to mention any of your published credits (or lack) just skip the first part and write this as your first sentence in the second paragraph (Or mention the place you first heard about this if it’s different than the ICL e-news):

I recently read in the Institute of Children’s Literature e-news that you have a particular need for unique non-fiction manuscripts.

Sentence #2
Here’s my second sentence in this paragraph:

My Title meets a felt need for nonfiction for students in kindergarten.

The purpose of this sentence is to remind Kaeden that this is nonfiction and it’s targeted to students in kindergarten.

And here’s where the CHOOSE YOUR OWN COVER LETTER game comes in. You can choose any of these alternatives to plug into the second sentence of your paragraph instead:

My Title is a strong addition for nonfiction for students in kindergarten.
My Title is perfect for nonfiction in the kindergarten classroom.
Kindergarten teachers will find My Title to be a great nonfiction resource for their students.

Sentence #3
Here’s my third sentence in this paragraph:

Similar in reading level and text complexity to your title, The Bird Feeder, my manuscript is 16 pages in length, has 48 words, and includes insets with detailed information that supports potential photographs.

You can copy this sentence, plugging in your own mentor text from Kaeden Books and your own book’s stats. (Also…just a note…I got the word “insets” from one of the back pages of one of their nonfiction titles. That’s how Kaeden refers to their sidebars.) Or you can rewrite this in your own words.

Sentence #4
Here’s my fourth and final sentence in this paragraph:

The discussion questions at the end are geared to the Common Core State Standards.

You can copy that sentence or choose one of these alternatives to plug into your own paragraph:

At the end of my manuscript, I included discussion questions supporting the Common Core.

Discussion questions for the teacher to use at the end of the story are geared to support the CCSS.

That’s it! The second paragraph of your cover letter is finished.

Third Paragraph:
For the third paragraph, I write something that’s my super-duper strategy for landing contracts. I’ve landed more contracts with that paragraph than I can remember. I’ll save this exciting part for a future post.

Fourth Paragraph:

For now, here’s my fourth and final paragraph:

I am looking forward to hearing from you regarding the potential acceptance of My Title. My resume is enclosed. This is a simultaneous submission.

Sincerely,

Nancy I. Sanders

If you don’t have a resume to include, skip that sentence. Go ahead and copy this or use your own words.

The reason I wrote “This is a simultaneous submission” is because they state they take a long time to respond. I want to give myself an option since they also state in their submission guidelines that simultaneous submissions are absolutely fine.

So go ahead and type out all this. Your cover letter is almost done! In an upcoming post I’ll share my extra fun, super-duper strategy that I like to include on my cover letters because it gets RESULTS!

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Responses

  1. Hi Nancy,
    All of the posts in your continuing series on submitting to Kaden books are excellent. I’m saving them all. 🙂

    • Yay! I’m so glad you’re finding these helpful. And we’re nearing the finish line with this first adventure.

  2. Hi Nancy, Thanks for these step-by-step instructions. I have a question – do you mention illustration or photographic suggestions in your cover letter or do you include a potential sample?

    • This is a great question! I’ll address the issue of photograph suggestions or art suggestions/samples is a post I put up this week. Thanks for asking!


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