Rose Ross Zedikerís publishing credits include forty stories, articles, crafts, devotions and fillers in Bread For Godís Children, Childrenís Ministry, Discoveries, Holidays & Seasonal Celebrations, Keys for Kids, Kidz Chat, Live, Live Wire, On the Line, One Year Book of Devotions for Boys, One Year Book of Devotions for Boys 2, One Year Book of Devotions for Girls 2, Our Little Friend, Primary Treasure, Standard, Story Friends, Weonesmag.com and Writerís Digest. In addition to her publishing for children, Rose Ross Zediker has also published for adults on our ICL Web Site previously. Her November, 2004 article was titled "Devil on Your Shoulder."
by Rose Ross Zediker
Youíve mastered query and cover letters but guess what? There are a few "other" letters writers need. The following are five examples of business letters a childrenís writer uses throughout their career. Since editors are busy, remember the rule of threes in childrenís writing. Keep each of these letters to three short paragraphs.
Guidelines/Sample Copies/Book Catalogue Letter
Editors want submissions tailored to their publications. Thatís why they offer guidelines, samples and catalogues. The first paragraph of this letter states your request. In the second paragraph tell the editor what youíve enclosed. Thank them in the third paragraph:
I am requesting the current writer guidelines and a sample copy for Boyís Life.
Enclosed please find a check for $3.60 and a 9 X 12 SASE as instructed in
your market listing.
Thank you for your time.
Address this letter to the editor listed for submissions. Mark the outside of the envelope with "Guidelines Request".
Status Update Letter
You sent your polished manuscript off to the editor. Now the response time in the market guide listing has passed. Donít assume your manuscript is under consideration; it could be lost in the mail or even within the publisherís office.
The first paragraph of your status inquiry letter tells the editor why youíre writing. The second paragraph asks them if they received your submission. State any enclosures and thank the editor in the third paragraph:
My records show my manuscript, Carousel Styles, was submitted to GP4K.com in June 2004.
Please advise me about the status of this manuscript so I can update my records. If you did not receive this manuscript, I will be glad to submit another copy.
Enclosed is a stamped self-addressed postcard for your reply. I look forward to hearing from you, and thank you for your time.
The enclosed postcard should have choices for the editor to check:
_____ Received and considering
_____ Never received
_____ Received and rejected
Whether you submit book or magazine manuscripts, you will use this letter at least once in your career. Some magazines hold manuscripts indefinitely and pay on publication. That may be okay in some instances, but if a writer has a chance for guaranteed acceptance of that manuscript, they should take it.
A few book publishers take only exclusive submissions, but most understand why a writer may decide to submit non-exclusively. If you submitted exclusively, but havenít heard from an editor after the allotted consideration time in the market listing, itís in your best interest to make the submission non-exclusive.
Begin the first paragraph with your submission information. This helps the editor locate your manuscript. In the second paragraph inform the editor of your decision. Thank them in the third paragraph for complying with your decision:
My records show my manuscript, "The Legend of the Robin Red Breast" was
an exclusive submission to Faith Kids in August 2003.
This letter is notification that this manuscript is no longer an exclusive
submission. Your guidelines state you consider non-exclusive submissions.
Thank you for continuing to consider my manuscript as a non-exclusive
This letter doesnít require a SASE enclosure. If your request was to have the manuscript returned, the editor will have the SASE on file from your original submission.
Work for Hire Letter
Magazines like Science Weekly and book publishers like Capstone Press are examples of work-for-hire publications. They ask for writers to send specific information to be considered for an assignment. Your cover letter to them should recap that information.
This letter is three "tell them" paragraphs. The first paragraph tells them you are a freelance writer that would like to work with them. Tell them in the second paragraph what your enclosures are, and in the third paragraph tell them thank you:
Iím a freelance writer interested in writing work-for-hire books.
Iíve enclosed my resumè and two samples of my writing. Both samples are
published manuscripts; the publications are listed on my resumè.
Thank you for your time and future consideration of a work-for-hire
These editors want to see if your writing style fits with the writing style of their publications. Your work samples should be specific to what they publish, nonfiction samples to a nonfiction publisher.
Change of Address Letter
If you have any pending business with a publication, a manuscript on hold or contributor copies, send them a letter notifying them of your change of address.
Ask them to update and note your address in the first paragraph. Use the second paragraph to remind them of the pending transaction. Again, thank them in the third paragraph:
Please update my address, referenced above, in your files.
My writing records reflect I have a manuscript; Grandma Itís Me, being held
for future publication in The Friend.
Thank you for your time.
There is no need to include a SASE with this letter.
It wonít take long to master these "other" letters. Set up a template for each of these letters in your word processing program, then tweak them to fit your current need. These letters can also be adapted for e-mail inquiries.
Using these guidelines, you will have mastered queries, covers, and others!
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