Cover letters offer a brief introduction of your career as a poet. They also give a pitch to the judges of poetry contests or editors of magazines or journals about why your submission is the best. 

Steps for Writing A Strong Cover Letter

Here are 4 steps you can use as a template in writing cover letters for any submission type.

  • Provide your contact information
  • Write the greeting and the body
  • Write the closing
  • Provide exactly what they want

Provide Your Contact Information

Type your email address, phone number, and residential address at the upper left-hand corner of your document. Ensure this information is accurate because this is what editors of magazines or poetry competitions organizers will use to contact you. If you are submitting by post, ensure that you include your name, postal address, and email address in the top right-hand corner. 

Write the Greeting and The Body

After writing the date, write the salutation to the magazine, journal, or contest organizers. The next step is to write the body of the poem. Check the guidelines to see if they allow that you mention how many poems you are sending. Also, alert them if you are making simultaneous submissions. 

After the first paragraph, include a short bio of around five sentences. On the bio, highlight your best-published work and major awards you have won previously. If you have not been published yet, worry not. The editor will be delighted to find new talent in you. 

Write the Closing

Write the closing remarks of the letter and include your name at the end. Three paragraphs are enough for a typical cover letter. Ensure a cover letter does not exceed a page. 

Before submitting the letter, check the guidelines to ensure that you have provided everything that was asked for. A submission can be discarded for failure to adhere to the guidelines provided. You will get an automatic disqualification from poetry contests if you do not do as per the parameters given. 

Tips to Consider for Literary Magazines

Some literary magazines and presses prefer established poets to novice poets. A well-crafted cover letter can tip the odds in your favor. Some also care about the poet’s credentials and history of past publications. 

However, most literary magazines don’t consider past publications, and so your chances of getting published are high even in the absence of past publication credits. 


Additional Tips

If you are accepted, send a brief email to the editors thanking them for accepting your submission. If you are rejected, you don’t need to respond. If you have to, keep it short to thank the editors for their time. But be careful not to sound reproachful in your response. 


A poet must uphold all the rules when submitting to poetry competitions. A slight mistake can cost one a placement. All in all, it is good to submit because it gets your work into the hands of readers. It is very fulfilling to share your work with the world. 



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