Example Cover Letter

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    Philippa East
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    As requested, here is a copy of the cover letter I used on submission. (Daeds has asked me to post it in this bit of the forum). It wasn’t actually the version I sent my now-agent Sarah Manning back in 2016, because I didn’t even know to write a proper cover letter the first time I went to FoW, but this is the one I was using when I formally submitted to agents in 2017.

    I hope it will be a useful template for others composing cover letters for submission.

    This one was for my one-to-one with Emma Finn. A couple of points:
    Some facts I knew from my research about Emma before submitting: she grew up in Lincolnshire, now lives in Brixton, and she has an MA in psychology.

    Emma commented that my blurb was a bit long and could be tightened, and I agree.

    Lastly. Ideally don’t make the mistake I did and mention *by name* other agents in your cover letter. I put Sarah’s actual name in, which I now know was a faux pas. Oops! Oh God, and I’ve just realised I also mention Sheila Crowley too!!! Oh man. I think the problem with this, is it makes agents not want to tread on anyone else’s toes, so they may be less keen to express their own interest.

    ___________________

    Dear Emma,

    I’m delighted to send you the opening chapters and synopsis of my 92K word novel Here Ends an Abduction, a suspenseful psychological drama about a family reunited with their missing child seven years after her abduction.

    I saw in your C+W profile that you’re interested in books about universal human experiences such as love and loss, relationships and vulnerabilities, as well as stories about families. I hope you will also enjoy the psychological underpinnings of this novel, drawn from my work as a Clinical Psychologist. In general, I think the novel might appeal to readers of books such as A Song for Issy Bradley, Truly Madly Guilty and The Girls.

    In 2001, amidst the chaos of a London Tube crush, Jess’s eight-year-old cousin was abducted. The loss has haunted Jess ever since. The girls grew up like twins: hand-in-hand, breath-for-breath playmates; now Jess’s days are waterlogged with an endless, painful longing: If only Nancy would come home. But when wishes come true, when the worst is over, what then? Seven years on and miraculously Nancy has been found. Or someone has. No longer the glimmering playmate of Jess’s childhood, Nancy returns a stranger: a rebellious and restless teenager shaped by the dark influences of her abductor Cassingham. But is it Cassingham whom Jess and her family should still be most afraid of, or is it Nancy herself – a girl so damaged and ellusive – whom Jess should now most mistrust? Meanwhile, deep within the family lies an agonising secret: the wounding seed of division sown before Nancy’s abduction ever took place.

    Last October I tweeted this book on #PitchCB, and received a ‘like’ and some very encouraging feedback from agent Sheila Crowley. In December I submitted Here Ends an Abduction for the Writing East Midlands mentorship scheme and was thrilled to be awarded a place. I’ve since been editing the novel under the guidance of author Judith Allnatt.

    After a stint in South London, I’m now settled in Lincolnshire where I practise as a Clinical Psychologist. My psychology background has always influenced my writing and this novel is particularly shaped by my work with survivors of childhood trauma. I also write short stories, published in magazines such as Fictive Dream, Brittle Star and The Lampeter Review. My recent successes include 2nd prize in the Fiction Desk Ghost Story competition, and joining For Books’ Sake’s ‘Hall of Fame’ alongside authors such as Ann Patchett and Carys Bray.

    I’ve recently sent Here Ends an Abduction to a small number of other agents, and the full manuscript is currently with Sarah Manning. However I’d absolutely love it if you were interested, so I’m excited to hear what you think. Thank-you so much for your time in considering my work and I look forward to meeting you soon.

    Yours sincerely

    Philippa East

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