It takes months, and then suddenly I have a finished short story that I want to submit for publication. Many journals ask for a cover letter and I’ve spent some time perfecting my own, which I want to share with you here. I continue to find ways to improve it, but here it is with brief explanations embedded.
There’s an important essay going around that, if you haven’t read it yet, you should read now before finishing this post. It’s called On Pandering by Claire Vaye Watkins, who is known to me by her fantastic 2013 debut collection of short stories, Battleborn, which won five literary awards.
The essay is actually a speech Watkins gave as a lecture during the 2015 Tin House Summer Writers’ Workshop. Either way, the content rattled me.
This year I began with gusto reading literary journals. I paid for subscriptions to a couple, including Glimmertrain and McSweeney’s, to get a feel for what they had to offer. And then I sent a short story in to a contest at Redivider — the $15 fee giving me a subscription. But I also purchased a subscription through Journal of the Month, which sends you, based on the amount you pay, anywhere between 6 and 24 random journals a year. By joining, I’ve been able to sample literary mags that I might not otherwise have known about. Continue reading