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Cover letters (1 Viewer)

Chris Miller

WF Veterans
Like bios, I never know what to say, where to draw the line. Here's what I just subbed to Typehouse via Submittable (whom I've never once sold a piece through).

Dear editors,

Ordinarily I leave this blank, or simply write, 'Thank you for your time and consideration' followed by some salutation. But since you have asked to 'hear' from me, here goes.

After a twenty year hiatus from creative writing, inspired by a University of Waterloo evening course entitled 'How to Write the Popular Novel,' David Foster Wallace's work inspired me to take it up again. And to modest success: several dozens (at least) of sales, seven SFWA-qualifying (mostly to COSMOS Magazine), a few Pushcart nominations, short-listings, honorable mentions, kind reviews and the like. But now I've again lost my motivation. Perhaps it was Wallace's suicide, or just my own aging's waning light. But it seems as if there are more publishers and writers today than ever before. I, myself, read and edit for a couple small magazines, but even the most prestigious venues seem to have not much to say (however well said) anymore. So much promotion, so agendized, so little substance. It saddens me for all writers, and, even more, for all publishers. I'm lucky to run across two or three stories in a year that inspire, inform, and evoke in me love for the author. How do all the zillions of anthologies and magazines fill their pages? And why? These are not rhetorical questions.

Another problem I have is a pathological bias toward my own work. Whereas I can rarely read another's story without skimming and skipping, and never more than once, I can and do reread with great raptness each of my own creations hundreds of times. My primary reason for subbing anymore is, in fact, the excuse it offers to select, revisit and possibly make minor revisions to some as yet unpublished piece. Because there is no apparent correlation between quality and sales, many of my best are still unpublished, one of which I'm submitting here. Once a piece has been published, after the ephemeral thrill has worn off, I tend to not to revisit it again. So, while I'd be thrilled to have you publish this experimental (and somewhat personal) work written in a hyper-omniscient POV, for me, in the long view, it might be just as well you didn't.

In either case, thank you for your time and consideration.



Senior Member
Hey Chris, I would definitely remove the part where it doesn't matter to you if they publish you or not. Why would they care, if you don't?
It's a guaranteed no to me, so don't even bother sending it to them if it's with that frame of mind.
I would also emphasize why you chose this editor amongst all of the ones available, you need to make them feel important.
Flatter their egos. I got my current job as a graphic designer by telling them that I couldn't believe how many benefits they offered, that if the company really did hold up on all that, they were comparable to Saputo's job offerings (it's a popular cheese company in Montreal) and I could see in her face, the pride. I know that gave me an edge over other potential employees.
Otherwise, I think it's a good text, a little pessimist, but if it's who you are, you don't want to lie about it.
Hope this helps!

Chris Miller

WF Veterans
Good advice, Kimoko. I got a polite form reject a week or two after subbing, and kind of doubt they read the cover. I probably shouldn't sub to markets I'm so ambivalent about. Maybe I just felt like venting a little. I suppose subbing short fiction is a little like applying for a job (you could never live on). I'd never approach a serious opportunity with that attitude (which I usually save for the bio). Thanks for the feedback. It did help.