How should I write the cover letter, when submitting some fiction to a magazine? What is the format? What are the things that I must and should include in it?

I am not an established writer. I have written just a few other poems and stories, and they are not in this genre, so I don't think that they will help. How can I make it impressive without mentioning any prior record of writing?

  • Have you done a search of previous questions with the COVER-LETTER tag? Your question is very open-ended, but I suspect these other questions will help. There is also tons of advice on the topic on-line.
    – DWKraus
    Commented Jul 17, 2021 at 16:10
  • Often the magazine will say what they want in a cover letter on their instructions on how to submit. (For instance they may ask for a short biography). Not all will care - some magazines claim to read everything regardless of who wrote it. It will depend a lot on the magazine and its staff and the nature of your writing - if you think it's helpful to send a cover letter with your writing then do so, but definitely don't write a long letter if you have nothing to say.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jan 18, 2022 at 10:52

2 Answers 2


Writers Digest University has helpful courses for writing a query letter. For magazine articles there is a course entitled “Pitch An Article: Write for Today’s Marketplace.” The course runs for two weeks from July 14, 2022 to July 28. http://Estelleserasmus.com/ Estelle S. Erasmus is the instructor.

I am not affiliated with Writer’s Digest. I have been pleased with my purchase of their courses in the past for query letters and summaries.

The course description indicates the content, which may be more than you need. There is a link under the course title for Recommended Reading. Three suggestions are listed.


A cover letter is your chance to tell the editor about your manuscript, why it is important, and how it fits into their magazine, so you must grab the editor's attention. This letter should not be written in haste because the quality of the cover letter can increase or decrease your chances of publication. The cover letter should follow a fairly standard format.

The first thing you need to do is check the guidelines for the author of your target journal regarding the requirements for a cover letter. Sometimes magazines require certain phrases or statements to be included in the cover letter. If so, make sure your letter contains all the necessary information and statements mentioned in the instructions. Before you write your letter, learn a few key points to remember about the format of your letter.

  • The letter should be written on letterhead and should be no more than one and a half or three pages. All proper letterhead materials must be included (the date and address of the recipient must be at the top left, below the letterhead).
  • The reference to the editor must be by name if known.
  • The main body of the letter should contain four short paragraphs.
  • The first paragraph must introduce the author, stating that the author is submitting the manuscript for peer review. This section should include the title of the manuscript and the title of the journal.
  • The second paragraph should cover the focus of the manuscript. This should include about 4-5 sentences that describe the purpose of the study, hypothesis, approach, and methodology.
  • The third paragraph should consist of 2-3 sentences and should contain a description of the main findings and their impact on the situation. The length of the manuscript for the journal should also be described based on the details of the manuscript. If you have any other important details that might make your manuscript stand out and encourage an editor to submit it for review, be sure to mention those details in this paragraph.
  • In the last paragraph, you should always thank the editor for reviewing the manuscript for publication.

Also, be aware that there are some key phrases that need to be included, and some of them are even required by most magazines. It should be noted that the written manuscript is original, and none of it has been previously published, nor is it considered for publication in any other journal. Authors may also need to declare any conflicts of interest.

Some journals require you to provide a list of potential reviewers in your cover letter and also allow you to specify any researchers who should not review your manuscript. All of these additional statements are a very important part of the cover letter, especially if the journal needs them, and contribute to the general opinion of editors about submitting your manuscript. Be sure to proofread your cover letter several times. The text should be revised for clarity and conciseness. Points or sentences that deviate from the focus of the letter should be deleted, and all sentences should be directly related to the goal, main results, and most important findings and conclusions.

In addition, all major grammatical and structural deficiencies must be corrected during viewing. If you need help with revision, you can attach a cover letter to the manuscript when looking for a professional proofreading service.

  • I think the OP is asking about fiction to a magazine, not an academic article to a Journal.
    – Amadeus
    Commented Dec 17, 2021 at 15:08

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