If I send a manuscript to a publisher, what should I put in the letter to them?
Dear [Name of Editor],
my name is [Your Name], I'm [your age] old and work as [your job] in [your town]. I have [never published anything before / published the following stories and novels:]
Enclosed you will find [the first draft / treatment and first 50 pages / whatever] of my novel "[Title of Novel]". I would love to publish my novel in [your house], because the topic of my novel, which is [your topic], perfectly complements [your publishing program with this author and that author and their books X and Y].
Since this seems not as obvious to some as I thought it would be: Do some careful research on the publisher you are sending your manuscript to. Do not write "your house" or "your publishing program", but the name of that publisher and the name or a description (other authors) that your novels fits in to. Replace all other placeholders, too (your name, name of editor, your age, your job, your town etc.). And don't just copy/paste this text. It is an example. I'll spell the basics out:
The basic idea is: treat this similar to a job application. (Research job application, if you have no idea how to write a letter applying for a job, I was taking it for granted that you all know how to apply for jobs and wouldn't write "your house".)
Hope this makes my answer a bit more clear, folks.
Here is a how-to by a literary agent that tells you what they expect. It's surprisingly similar to what I wrote above: http://www.dystel.com/submission-requirements/
There's more valuable advice from them on their "Queries" page: http://www.dystel.com/category/queries/
protected by Monica Cellio♦ Sep 4 '14 at 20:55
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