Friday, September 23, 2011

Take Cover

I have given you my take on critiques, organization, and market search for your poetry. Now it's time to, as Emeril would say, kick it up a notch. Let's assume that you have found a poetry magazine, online or print, that might be a good fit for your work. You have selected 3-5 poems, scrubbed them and combed their hair, made sure they have on their best clothes. They will be in a readable, unfussy font, usually Times New Roman. You are almost ready to send them to the world. Send them with a letter of introduction, called in the biz, a cover letter.

Remembering always the busy lives of busy editors in this business, you will keep your letter short and clear. After all, you want publication for the poems, not the cover letter. Here's a version of my wording:

Dear (Editor),
Enclosed/attached please find five poems for your consideration: "Title One," "Title Two," "Title Three," "Title Four" and "Title Five." None of these is in submission elsewhere, nor has any been previously published.

As requested, I have included below a brief bio. Thank you in advance for your time and attention. I look forward to your response.


Karen Douglass
(snail mail address)
PH: 000-000-0000

No, I don't italicize. This is for your ease of distinction here.

If this submission goes by USPS, I might add that the ms can be recycled after use and that I have included an SASE. However, the majority of my submissions go out electronically, so no recycling needed. As I've said before, be scrupulous in following instructions about attachments vs. pasting into the email. If you attach when the editor refuses to open attachments, well, you can see the problem. If you paste in, be prepared to re-enter any special style effects, as many email servers won't automatically copy your italics, bold, or certain fonts. Yes, it's work, but this final step takes less time than going to post office. Once you hit send, record the submission in your binder and on the Duotrope spread sheet. Then forget about it while you write more poems. Good luck. Let me know if this helps.

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