Reply To: Example Cover Letter

About Forums Den of Writers Blogs Example Cover Letter Reply To: Example Cover Letter

Philippa East

To explain my changes:

Para 1: what kind of book
You sound a bit waffly on genre. I’ve tried to make it more specific, avoid the term ‘borderline literary’, and simply give your nice elevator pitch upfront. I think your setting is a real USP so I’ve got that in upfront too.

I fear an agent will freak at your word count! Books above 100k words are HARD to sell (coz they are more expensive for publishers to print). Don’t give agents a reason to reject you right out of the gate. You might need to trim your MS…

Para 2: why might the book appeal and who to
I’ve moved some phrases around to focus on this: why the agent might like it, and which readers might like it. Supernatural (ghosts at least) is a bit of a trend at present, so hopefully you can find some more comp titles.

Para 3: blurb
I like your blurb and have pointed out where you could add some interesting detail. We could probably work to make this zing even more.

Para 4: about me and my writing
I’ve taken out bits where you are being a bit vague or ‘mysterious’. The agent doesn’t have time for that!

I think it’s better to ‘show not tell’ when it comes to showcasing the quality of your writing and your abilities as a writer. So I’ve replaced your descriptions of your own style, intentions etc with evidence that hopefully shows your knowledge and practice of the craft. Let the work you’ve put in and your writing speak for itself.

Para 5: sign off
Be careful of hoping the agent is stimulated! Maybe just ‘enjoy’ 🙂

Saying you are only subbing to two other agents might sound unusually picky (agent thought: “picky people are hard to work with”). Maybe round off by saying something like ‘I have sent submissions to a select handful of other agents’. The point is simply to inform the agent that you have approached others, in the interests of transparency.

Phew! I hope the above is helpful. I think your book has some great selling points, and it sounds really original. I’m certainly curious.