Monday, August 24, 2020

How To Write A Submission Letter


Going through a heap of old papers in the printer room, I ran across my submission letter for "A Small Room in Koboldtown," which I sent to Sheila Williams at Asimov's Science Fiction. 

The guidelines for submission letters all agree that they should be short, interesting, and to the point. Mine, I believe is exemplary on all three counts. So I present it to you as a model:

Dear Sheila,

No, don't say a word. You don't need to. Among my many, many other talents, I'm a precognitive telepath. So, to spare you some trouble, I've made a transcript of your future thoughts as you read hte attached story, "A Small Room in Koboldtown." To wit:

Oh Gawd, it's another urban elf story! The readers are going to rise up with pitchforks and torches. I keep telling Michael that we want hard science fiction! With spaceships!! But he... What's this? It'a a locked-room mystery? Has Michael gone completely bonkers? I can't believe that he would do this to... Actually, it's not bad. It's pretty good. In fact, it's terrific. I think I'm going to... going to... buy it. But I refuse to  be gracious about it. I'm going to write him a terse, clipped acceptance letter.

So there you are! Look at all the time I've saved you! Inferior writers wouldn't do that. But I refrain from pointing out how wonderful of me it was. My great modesty will not permit it.

Magnaminously yours,

And that's how it's done by the pros. Go thou, young gonnabe writer, and do thou likewise!


1 comment:

Kevin said...

I am not so gracious. I will provide the link, but let you do the work of following it to see the publication history of "A Small Room in Koboldtown." I will even leave it to you to draw your own conclusions about the effectiveness of Mr. Swanwick's approach: