When sending out a number of submissions on a project, there’s a chance for things to slip through the cracks. It can be a little dangerous when you keep refreshing a letter for each submission. All that cutting and pasting can lead to mistakes, so be careful! Double (and triple checking) your letter is so important. Our eyes can tend to read over things when we’ve read something a bajillion times.
For e-submissions there are three main things you need to double-check and make sure you have right before you send:
- GREETING – to the correct agent or editor, of course
- PERSONALIZATION– any mention of the agent, editor, company, and their books needs to be specific to the person you’re sending to! They certainly don’t want to read your schmoozies to the last person you queried.
- SUBJECT LINE – Make sure you format the subject line the way specified in submission guidelines. If there are no guidelines, just make sure it is clear. (For example: Query – TITLE, genre.)
In addition to the greeting and personalization, with paper submissions make sure you have the date correct on your letter (not the biggest deal in the world as long as it’s close, but I’m kind of anal about this stuff), and make sure you have the correct address at the top of your letter, not the one you used on your last letter. Ugh!
My suggestion: make a completely new document for each query or cover letter you are preparing for submission. Paste in the letter then delete the parts that need to be specific to the submission, that way you have not left something specific to someone else on accident. Then, personalize away! Print or put into your email when completely finished.
And as always…NEVER PUT THE EMAIL ADDRESS INTO YOUR EMAIL ‘TO’ BOX UNTIL READY TO SEND! You don’t ever want to accidentally send a partially ready submission.
How do you double check? Anything else that should be on the checklist? Let us know in the comments!
Great advice, Heather. I wish I would have included that in my letter to my newbie writer self. I know writers who send one query out to Dear Sir. ACK! That’s awful.
Thanks Robyn. Dear Sir happens. LOL!
I just thought of something else too –read your query letter out loud! Sounds like the beginnings of another post. 😉