The Cover Letter/Query Letter Controversy

September 21, 2008 at 8:25 pm 8 comments

These are the terms in publishing that drove me insane until I realized they were basically the same thing. In a query letter you are pitching your ms and also yourself. In a cover letter you are pitching your ms and yourself.

So, why the different words for the same thing?

It’s to drive you, the writer, insane. That’s the secret in publishing no one told you. I don’t think editors and agents did this purposefully. Heck, it was probably a writer who termed “cover letter” just to sound more intelligent when talking about submitting.  You are basically writing the same thing just calling it different name. “A rose is still a rose” type of thing.

 Do not be like Melissa Blue and spend four years scratching your head.

Now I will admit the phrase “not right for us” was created to cut down on submissions. For the newbie writer who has no idea this means “submit elsewhere” will spends years trying to decipher these four words. Now these phrases also help cut down on submissions, “Best Wishes”, “Dear Author”, “Understand this business is subjective”. All these just mean SUBMIT ELSEWHERE and DON’T GIVE UP.

And if you really want to spend time trying to figure out the secret code words used in rejections, write another novel while you do. It’s the best thing you can do for your writing career.

I’m thinking this week will be submission week. Stay tuned.

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Entry filed under: agents, editors, in jest, myths, publishing woes, query, rejection, submitting, Uncategorized.

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Edie  |  September 21, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    Mel, good luck with your queries/cover letters/whatever-they’re-called!

  • 2. Melissa Blue  |  September 22, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Lol, I haven’t sent any out in a while. I read an article yesterday talking about cover letters. Figured I should blog about my lesson learned.

  • 3. coffeegirl88  |  September 22, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    So what you are saying is never give up? Cool.

    Good luck with the queries!

  • 4. Melissa Blue  |  September 22, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Yup, never give up. You get varying opinions then keep going. If agents/editors are telling you the same thing then you should stop and look at your ms.

    But even with that caveat, never give up.

  • 5. Amie Stuart  |  September 22, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Good luck hon!

  • 6. Melissa Blue  |  September 22, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Lol, Thanks.

  • 7. Slave Driver  |  September 22, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    I received my first “The publishing business is subjective” letter last week, and I translated it to mean, “I have bad taste and can’t see how wonderful and creative your ms is because I’m a humorless toad.”

    That’s my story…sticking.

    On the upside I was pointed to the Utah Arts Council, the members of which sponsor a “First (unpublished) Novel” contest that does not have a submission fee. Yay! On the downside it’s closed for this year and they won’t be accepting submissions until next May. 😦 But if I’m still unpublished by then I can submit. And if they reject it, because they are local, I’ll be able to call them humorless toads to their face, instead of writing it on their business card in purple Flair pen.

    My mother is visiting this week. I have to go and clean house now. And write “The Pirate Wedding” blog.

    Argggg………

  • 8. Melissa Blue  |  September 22, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    “I have bad taste and can’t see how wonderful and creative your ms is because I’m a humorless toad.”

    I like your interpretation better. That’s will be my story from now on too.

    And I’m definitely checking out your blog. I have to know about the Pirate Wedding.

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