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  • How to write a cover letter for journal article submission

How to write a cover letter for journal submission

Download our cover letter template.

When you submit your article to a journal, you often need to include a cover letter. This is a great opportunity to highlight to the journal editor what makes your research new and important. The cover letter should explain why your work is perfect for their journal and why it will be of interest to the journal’s readers.

is cover letter necessary for journal submission

When writing for publication, a well-written cover letter can help your paper reach the next stage of the manuscript submission process – being sent out for  peer review . So it’s worth spending time thinking about how to write a cover letter to the journal editor, to make sure it’s going to be effective.

To help you, we’ve put together a guide to explain how to write a cover letter for journal article submission. You will receive cover letter instructions of what you should include and what you shouldn’t, and a word template cover letter.

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What should my cover letter include?

Before you start to write, please check the  instructions for authors  (IFAs) of your chosen journal, as not all journals will require one. You should also check the IFAs for any journal specific information on what to include. This may include a list of relevant articles written by you or your co-authors that have been or are currently being considered for publication in other journals.

Key points to include in your letter to the editor:

Editor’s name (you can usually find this on the journal page on  Taylor & Francis Online ).

Your manuscript’s title.

Name of the journal you are submitting to.

Statement that your paper has not been previously published and is not currently under consideration by another journal.

Brief description of the research you are reporting in your paper, why it is important, and why you think the readers of the journal would be interested in it.

Contact information for you and any  co-authors .

Confirmation that you have no  competing interests  to disclose.

is cover letter necessary for journal submission

Things to avoid:

Don’t copy your abstract into your cover letter, instead explain in your own words the significance of the work, the problem that is being addressed, and why the manuscript belongs in the journal.

Don’t use too much jargon or too many acronyms, keep language straightforward and easy to read.

Avoid too much detail – keep your cover letter to a maximum of one page, as an introduction and brief overview.

Avoid any spelling and grammar errors and ensure your letter is thoroughly proofed before submitting.

Key information for cover letter

Click to enlarge your PDF on key information to include in your cover letter .

Cover letter template

If you need further help to write a cover letter for a journal, you can download and use our sample template as a guide.

is cover letter necessary for journal submission

You might find that the submission system for your chosen journal requires your cover letter to be submitted into a text box rather than as a separate document, but it is still a good idea to write a draft first to make sure you have included everything.

Always make sure to check the journal’s  instructions for authors  for any specific additional information to include.

Submission ready

Use our submission checklist  to make sure you’ve included everything you need to.

If you need more guidance, take a look at our other  information and resources to help you make your submission .

is cover letter necessary for journal submission

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Consider the Taylor & Francis Rapid Technical Review service to help you meet your deadline, through peer-review-like comments on your manuscript.

Related resources

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American Psychological Association

Cover Letters

The cover letter is a formal way to communicate with journal editors and editorial staff during the manuscript submission process. Most often, a cover letter is needed when authors initially submit their manuscript to a journal and when responding to reviewers during an invitation to revise and resubmit the manuscript. For more information on the peer review process and possible manuscript decisions, see Section 12.7 of the Publication Manual .

Because cover letters are separate documents from the manuscript file, all correspondence during the publication process must include the complete manuscript title, the authors’ names, and the manuscript number (assigned by the journal when the manuscript is first received). Although any author may correspond with the journal editor or editorial staff, most correspondence is handled by the corresponding author , who serves as the main point of contact and responds to questions about the published article. All authors should decide prior to submission who will serve as the corresponding author.

is cover letter necessary for journal submission

This guidance has been expanded from the 6th edition. 

Cover letter for manuscript submission to a journal

Authors usually must include a cover letter when they first submit their manuscript to a journal for publication . The cover letter is typically uploaded as a separate file into the online submission portal for the journal (for more information on using an online submission portal, see Section 12.10 of the Publication Manual ).

The cover letter should be addressed to the journal editor; any interim correspondence is addressed to the editor or associate editor with whom you have been in communication.

In your submission cover letter, include the following information:

Check the journal’s website for the current editor’s name and for any other journal-specific information to include in your cover letter.

Cover letter for a revised and resubmitted manuscript

Also include a cover letter with manuscripts being resubmitted to a journal after receiving an invitation to revise and resubmit. Ensure the cover letter contains the complete manuscript title, the authors’ names, and the manuscript number (assigned by the journal when the manuscript was first received). In the cover letter for the resubmission, thank the editors and reviewers for their feedback and outline the changes you made (or did not make) to the manuscript to address the feedback.

The cover letter for a revised and resubmitted manuscript summarizes the changes to the manuscript. Along with the cover letter and revised manuscript, authors should also provide a response to reviewers , which is a detailed document explaining how they responded to each comment.

Sample cover letters

These sample cover letters demonstrate how authors can communicate with the journal editor at the initial manuscript submission and following an invitation to revise and resubmit a manuscript for publication.

Cover letters

A good cover letter can help to “sell” your manuscript to the journal editor. As well as introducing your work to the editor you can also take this opportunity to explain why the manuscript will be of interest to a journal's readers, something which is always as the forefront editors’ mind. As such it is worth spending time writing a coherent and persuasive cover letter.

The following is an example of a poor cover letter:

Dear Editor-in-Chief, I am sending you our manuscript entitled “Large Scale Analysis of Cell Cycle Regulators in bladder cancer” by Researcher et al. We would like to have the manuscript considered for publication in Pathobiology. Please let me know of your decision at your earliest convenience. With my best regards, Sincerely yours, A Researcher, PhD

Instead, check to see whether the journal’s Instructions for Authors have any cover letter requirements (e.g. disclosures, statements, potential reviewers). Then, write a letter that explains why the editor would want to publish your manuscript. The following structure covers all the necessary points that need to be included.

TIP: All cover letters should contain these sentences:

Submission checklist

Before submitting your manuscript, thoroughly check its quality one more time. Evaluate it critically—could anything be done better?

Be sure that:

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What should be included in a cover letter?

You may be required to submit a cover letter with your submission. Individual journals may have specific requirements regarding the cover letter's contents, so please consult the individual journal's Guide for Authors.

A cover letter is a simple, brief business letter, designed to introduce your manuscript to a prospective Editor.  If the Guide for Authors does not specify what to include in your cover letter, you may wish to include some of the following items:

Please note: When your manuscript is received at Elsevier, it's considered to be in its 'final form' ready to be reviewed, so please check your manuscript carefully before you submit it to the Editor. A guide to the publication process and getting your article published in an Elsevier journal is available on the Elsevier Publishing Campus .

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Journal Article Publication Letters

What is this handout about.

This handout offers guidance on how to write a cover letter for submitting journal manuscripts for publication.

What is a journal publication letter?

A journal publication letter, also known as a journal article submission cover letter, is a cover letter written to a peer-reviewed journal to advocate for the publication of a manuscript. Not all journals ask for a publication letter. Some see publication letters as optional, but many peer-reviewed academic journals request or require them.

What do journal publication letters typically contain?

The most basic information included in a publication letter is contact information, the name of the author(s), the title of the manuscript, and either the assurance that the manuscript being submitted has not been submitted elsewhere or a statement regarding any places the manuscript may be available. Some journals may also expect you to briefly explain your argument, outline your methodology or theoretical commitments, discus permissions and funding, and explain how your manuscript fits into the overall aims of the journal. Journals may even request the names of two or three suggested reviewers for your manuscript. A journal may require all, none, or some of this additional information. The above list is not exhaustive, but it highlights the importance of knowing the journal’s conventions and expectations.

How should I prepare to write?

Just as with any other writing project, writing publication letters involves a process. Although you may finish in as little as a few hours or a day, you might take longer if you compose multiple drafts. This section is designed to help you think through the various steps of the writing process.

Previously, we mentioned the importance of knowing the journal’s standards, but you may not find those expectations laid out clearly on the journal’s website. In fact, most journals assume that the scholars who submit a letter are well-versed in the journal’s mission. Below are some strategies for helping you determine the expectations for journal article publication letters.

Consider the standards in your field:

Research the specific journal:

After completing your research, you should have a good sense of the journal’s audience and the sort of articles that appear in the journal.

Once you know the expectations for publication letters in your field and in a specific journal, revisit the reasons your manuscript is a good fit for the journal. Remember the journal has no obligation to publish your manuscript. Instead, you advocate for your scholarship and communicate why your manuscript is a good fit. Below are some questions to consider.

Consider how your manuscript fits into the publication:

Consider the audience for your manuscript:

Consider how your manuscript engages with the field at large:

All these questions encourage you to consider how your manuscript contributes to the field in a way that is valuable enough for a journal to publish it. Make no mistake, the cover letter is an argument for why your manuscript should be published.

Writing a draft

This section addresses two aspects of composing a cover letter draft. The first aspect is the form, and the second is the content. Think about both of these aspects when composing your draft.

Consider the form

The structure of a document can be defined as the different sections of the document and the order in which they appear. There should be an addressee and addresser, as well as the proper contact information. If possible, it should be on departmental letterhead. The letter may be as short as three sentences or as long as multiple paragraphs. But unless the writer is a senior scholar, even a longer letter should be no more than one page. Some standard features you might consider:

Addressee. If you choose or are required to write a cover letter, follow the standard format for letters in the country in which the publication is based.

Font. While this category may seem trivial, font choice communicates a lot to readers.

Paragraphs. Again, the formatting of paragraphs aids in the readability of a letter, and an unusual paragraph format may appear unprofessional to some readers.

Closing. Letter closings solidify your presentation as a professional. Maintain the same formality as the rest of the letter.

Consider the content

Remember that a cover letter, especially a longer one, is essentially a professional pitch for your manuscript. You ultimately need to communicate why your manuscript would be a good fit for a particular journal. Journals asking for longer cover letters want to know whether you are familiar with their audience and the journal’s mission statement. Below are some elements that you should consider when composing your letter:

Summarize the major arguments/findings of the manuscript. Make sure that you clearly explain what you discovered from your research. Connect these findings to the journal’s aims and scope. Some questions you might consider:

Discuss your methodology. Clarify the type of methods you used in your research. Ask yourself:

Consider the aim of the journal. Every journal has a purpose, and most journals have a statement about the type of scholarship they feature. You might ask:

Consider the readership. Here are some questions you can ask:

Consider the journal’s future trajectory. Research journals strive to remain relevant. In order to do so, journals often change to reflect trends in the field. Ask yourself:

Provide context for the research . If you are writing a longer letter, explain how your research fits in both with the research in your field at large and in your subfield. Ask yourself:

Additional considerations . Check to determine whether the journal requires any additional information. Some common expectations include:

Possible pitfalls

Below are several other elements to keep in mind as you write your publication letter:

Two templates

Below are two cover letter templates to help you visualize how form and content combine to make a strong publication letter. The templates offer guidelines for each section, but they can be modified based on the standards of your field. Use them to help you think through the elements that are most important to include in your letter.

Remember, your first draft does not have to be your last. Make sure to get feedback from different readers, especially if this is one of your first publications. It is not uncommon to go through several stages of revisions. Check out the Writing Center’s handout on editing and proofreading and video on proofreading to help with this last stage of writing.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

American Psychological Association. n.d. “Cover Letter.” APA Style. Accessed April 2019. https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/research-publication/cover-letters.

Belcher, Wendy Laura. 2009. Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Press.

BioScience Writers (website). 2012. “Writing Cover Letters for Scientific Manuscripts.” September 29, 2012. https://biosciencewriters.com/Writing-Cover-Letters-for-Scientific-Manuscripts.aspx .

Jones, Caryn. n.d. “Writing Effective Cover Letters for Journal Submissions: Tips and a Word Template.” Think Science. Accessed August 2019. https://thinkscience.co.jp/en/articles/writing-journal-cover-letters.html .

Kelsky, Karen. 2013. “How To Write a Journal Article Submission Cover Letter.” The Professor Is In (blog), April 26, 2013. https://theprofessorisin.com/2013/04/26/how-to-write-a-journal-article-submission-cover-letter/ .

Kelsky, Karen. 2013. “Of Cover Letters and Magic (A Follow-up Post).” The Professor Is In (blog), April 29, 2013. http://theprofessorisin.com/2013/04/29/of-cover-letters-and-magic-a-followup-post/ .

Mudrak, Ben. n.d. “Writing a Cover Letter.” AJE . https://www.aje.com/dist/docs/Writing-a-cover-letter-AJE-2015.pdf .

Wordvice. n.d. “How to Write the Best Journal Submission Cover Letter.” Accessed January 2019. https://wordvice.com/journal-submission-cover-letter/ .

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Cover Letter for Journal Submission: Sample & How To Write

Cover Letter for Journal Submission: Sample & How To Write

You spent months doing research and documenting it in a neat manuscript. Make sure it gets published with this guide to cover letters for journal submissions

Roma Kończak

Every day, you help the world to move forward. Conducting research, performing tests, and working on scientific experiments are a part of your routine. The data you’ve collected must be processed and presented in a neat manuscript.

But wait. Who’s going to read it? Oh, right. You must have an audience. But not just any audience—you need scientists like you to read and review your paper. And to reach them, you must send your work to scientific journals.

To make sure your groundbreaking findings get published in reputable journals, you must write a professional cover letter for journal submission.

This guide will show you:

Want to write your cover letter fast? Use our cover letter builder. Choose from 20+ professional cover letter templates that adapt to your content and already have all the formatting in place. Make your document look perfect with zero effort! 

CREATE YOUR COVER LETTER NOW

cover letter for journal submission example

That’s a sample cover letter for a journal submission made with our builder. See more cover letter templates and create your cover letter here .

Check this cover letter for journal submission sample:Cover Letter for Journal Submission Sample

Sushmita Devi, M. Sc. 

Psychology Research Fellow, Indian Institute of Psychology & Research, Bangalore

+91 82 97651366

[email protected]

linkedin.com/in/sushmita.devi4

Bangalore, 01.02.2022

Chief Editor

The International Journal of Indian Psychology

Sardar Patel University

Vallabh Vidyanagar, 388120

Dear Mr. Sur,

I'm honoured to submit my manuscript entitled  " Life dissatisfaction and anxiety levels among teenage Instagram users in Bangalore "  to be considered for publication as a case report in The International Journal of Indian Psychology.

As a psychology research fellow at the Indian Institute of Psychology & Research in Bangalore, I have focused on working with youth from various socioeconomic backgrounds. While serving as a counsellor, I've noticed high general anxiety levels, body image issues, eating disorders, and overall life dissatisfaction among 13–18-year-olds who used Instagram regularly and extensively.

I’ve conducted interviews with 168 individuals who declared active use of Instagram, defined as posting on their profiles at least once per day and interacting with the platform for more than 4 hours a day. Each individual filled out a self-assessment questionnaire to provide an overview of their self-esteem and to describe their Instagram habits. After gathering this preliminary data, I have discussed the answers with each participant and further evaluated their mental health.

Since social media is increasingly recognized as a major influence on children and teenagers, it’s also more often seen as a problem by parents and teachers. I believe that the findings presented in my case report may appeal to child psychologists, counsellors, social workers, and educators. Understanding the correlation between Instagram use and mental wellbeing can lead to the creation of health campaigns and establishing ways to enhance the positive effect of social media while minimizing the negative outcomes.

This manuscript examines a different aspect of the issues covered in the following papers also published by The International Journal of Indian Psychology: 

I declare that this manuscript is original and has not been published before. It is not currently being considered for publication elsewhere. No financial support was received for this study.

As the only author, I have approved the final version of the manuscript and agree to be accountable for all aspects of this work.

I believe that the following individuals would be well suited to reviewing my manuscript:

To the best of my knowledge, none of the above-suggested persons has any conflict of interest, financial or otherwise.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Indian Institute of Psychology & Research

St. Anthony's Friary, #85, Hosur Road, Bangalore-560095

See? Not that complicated! Yet, it brings you a few steps closer to getting that research paper published.

Thinking of improving on your resume to better present yourself to the academic community? Check this guide: How to Write a Resume for a Job: See a Good Sample & Guide  

Now, let’s see how to write a cover letter for journal submission:

1. Start With the Proper Cover Letter for Journal Submission Template

Appearances matter. You wouldn’t wear a baggy T-shirt and shorts to an academic conference. In the same way, you don’t want your cover letter for journal submission to look sloppy.

Follow these steps to create a professional template:

Cover Letter for Journal Submission Checklist

Interested in writing a cover letter as well? Read more: How to Write a Cover Letter in India: Examples & Full Guide

2. Begin Your Cover Letter for Journal Submission Strong

Scientific journals receive hundreds of submissions on a daily basis. Even if your research is truly groundbreaking, they might overlook it.

Hoping to see your name in The Lancet ? Then start with putting it in your cover letter! Make sure to also include your contact information, degree, and the academic institution that backs you up. Then, list the information of the chief editor you’re addressing.

But that’s not all!

The first paragraph of your cover letter for journal submission must present the title of your manuscript. It’s also worth noting the type of article, such as review, case study, research, etc. Then, explain why you’ve conducted your research and mention the main findings.

Cover Letter for Journal Submission Sample

This example presents the themes of the manuscript in a clear and concise manner. It includes all the essential information.

While the title of the article sounds promising, the information provided by the author doesn’t explain why they chose this particular subject and what they focused on.

Pro Tip: Many journals, including Nature , Science , and Elsevier , list the exact information required in the cover letter for journal submissions. Make sure to check the requirements of your preferred journal before writing your cover letter!

3. Put the Abstract in the Middle of Your Cover Letter for Journal Submission

The editor’s attention spiked after the intro, but now it dropped.

Because you started rambling about your unique findings without mentioning how you got to these conclusions. They’ve decided you’re just a dreamer with no facts to back up your ideas.

Don’t try to shake the world—first, prove you know what you’re talking about:

See? There’s no need for a lengthy essay here.

Check this cover letter for journal submission sample to see what I’m talking about:

Cover Letter for Journal Submission—Middle Part

You’ve got it all! This shows the editor you know what you’re talking about. You aren’t a pseudo-scientist trying to push your intuitive beliefs on others.

Ouch. That’s really vague. It doesn’t seem convincing—maybe the author isn’t really a scientist?

Pro Tip: Writing about your research in English may not be as natural to you as chatting with fellow researchers over lunch. Studies show that many papers from non-English speaking authors are regularly rejected by editors because of incorrect grammar. If you need to improve your language skills, consider joining courses specifically for scientists, such as Coursera’s English for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics .

When making a resume and a cover letter in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check . Start building a professional resume template here for free .

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4. Add Mandatory Declarations to Your Cover Letter for Journal Submission

Now, this is a very easy part.

Most journals require authors to include various statements. They provide backing for the journal in case of legal issues.

Those may include:

To make sure you included all required clauses, always check the requirements of the journal.

Cover Letter for Journal Submission—Mandatory Clauses

It’s clear and easy to understand. The required statements are covered here.

There aren’t enough details here. It’s always best to just paraphrase the clauses listed in submission requirements.

Pro Tip: Always be upfront about a potential conflict of interest, especially when your research was financed by a private institution. There’s no shame in getting private funding! In the U.S., over 70% of research and development is funded by the private sector . 

5. Finish Your Cover Letter for Journal Submission

Now it’s time for the last step: the ending!

But before you can click “send” on your submission, there’s one more important thing.

The reviewers.

That’s one of the goals of your submission—to get your article reviewed by other scientists. This way, you become more trustworthy. It will also help to gain interest in your research, which might lead to future job opportunities.

Think of 3–5 persons from the academic community who might be interested in your research. It’s best if they study similar themes or published articles on related topics. Pay attention to potential conflicts of interest!

Cover Letter for Journal Submission—Ending

It’s pretty clear why these individuals could be interested in reviewing this article—they all specialize in similar topics.

A great cover letter that matches your CV will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here .  Here's what it may look like:

matching set of cv and cover letter

See more cover letter templates and start writing.

Key Takeaway

This is the easiest formula to write a cover letter for journal submission:

Now get to writing!

Not sure how to customize your cover letter to the journal’s requirements? Having trouble describing your research methods? Leave a comment below. I’ll be happy to assist you!

Roma Kończak

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How to Write a Cover Letter for Journal Submission

is cover letter necessary for journal submission

If you’re looking for solid advice on how to write a strong journal submission cover letter that will convince journal editors to review your research paper, then look no further! We know that cover letters  can  impact an editor’s decision to consider your research paper further.

This guide aims to explain (1) why you should care about writing a powerful cover letter, (2) what you should include in it, and (3) how you should structure it. The last segment will include a free downloadable submission cover letter template with detailed how-to explanations and some useful phrases. Finally, be sure to get journal manuscript editing , cover letter editing , and other academic editing services by Wordvice’s professional editors to ensure that you convey an academic style and error-free text, along with including all of the most important content.

Why does a good cover letter matter?

While your research paper’s role is to prove the merits of your research, a strong introductory cover letter is your opportunity to highlight the significance of your research and “sell” its concept to journal editors.

While your research paper’s role is to prove the merits of your research, a strong introductory cover letter is your opportunity to highlight the significance of your research and “sell” its concept to journal editors.

Sadly, we must admit that part of the decision-making process of whether to accept a manuscript is based on a business model. Editors must select articles that will interest their readers. In other words, your paper, if published, must make money . When it’s not quite clear how your research paper might generate interest based on its title and content alone (for example, if your paper is too technical for most editors to appreciate), your cover letter is the one opportunity you will get to convince the editors that your work is worth further review.

In addition to economic factors, many editors use the cover letter to screen whether authors can follow basic instructions . For example, if a journal’s guide for authors states that you must include disclosures, potential reviewers, and statements regarding ethical practices, failure to include these items might lead to the automatic rejection of your article, even if your research is the most progressive project on the planet! By failing to follow directions, you raise a red flag that you may be careless, and if you’re not attentive to the details of a cover letter, editors might wonder about the quality and thoroughness of your research. This is not the impression you want to give editors!

What to Include in a Cover Letter for a Journal Submission

We can’t stress this enough: Follow your target journal’s instructions for authors ! No matter what other advice you read in the vast webosphere, make sure you prioritize the information requested by the editors of the journal you are submitting to. As we explained above, failure to include required statements will lead to an automatic “ desk rejection ”.

With that said, below is a list of the most common elements you must include in your cover letter and what information you should NOT include:

Essential information:

Other commonly requested information:

Other disclosures/statements required by the journal (e.g., compliance with ethical standards, conflicts of interest , agreement to terms of submission, copyright sign-over, etc.)

What you should NOT do:

How to Structure a Cover Letter

You should use formal language in your cover letter. Since most submissions are delivered electronically, the template below is in a modified e-mail format. However, if you send your cover letter on letterhead (PDF or hard copy by mail), move your contact information to the upper-left corner of the page unless you use pre-printed letterhead, in which case your contact information should be centered at the top of the letter.

ANNOTATED TEMPLATE Journal Submissions Cover Letter

[Journal Editor’s First and Last Name][, Graduate Degree (if any)] TIP: It’s customary to include any graduate degrees in the addressee’s name. e.g.,  John Smith, MD or Carolyn Daniels, MPH [Title] e.g.,  Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor, Co-Editors-in-Chief [Journal Name] [Journal Address] [Submission Date: Month Day, Year]

Dear Dr./Mr./Ms. [Editor’s last name]:

TIP: Where the editor’s name is not known, use the relevant title employed by the journal, such as “Dear Managing Editor:” or “Dear Editor-in-Chief:”. Using a person’s name is best, however.

TIP: Use “Ms.” and never “Mrs.” or “Miss” in formal business letters.

TIP:  Never   use “Dear Sirs:” or any similar expression. Many editors will find this insulting, especially given that many of them are female!

[Para.1: 2–3 sentences]  I am writing to submit our manuscript entitled, [“Title”] for consideration as a [Journal Name][Article Type]. [One to two sentence “pitch” that summarizes the study design, where applicable, your research question, your major findings, and the conclusion.]

e.g.,  I am writing to submit our manuscript entitled, “X Marks the Spot” for consideration as an  Awesome Science Journal  research article. We examined the efficacy of using X factors as indicators for depression in Y subjects in Z regions through a 12-month prospective cohort study and can confirm that monitoring the levels of X is critical to identifying the onset of depression, regardless of geographical influences.

TIP: Useful phrases to discuss your findings and conclusion include:

[Para. 2: 2–5 sentences]  Given that [context that prompted your research], we believe that the findings presented in our paper will appeal to the [Reader Profile] who subscribe to [Journal Name]. Our findings will allow your readers to [identify the aspects of the journal’s  Aim and Scope  that align with your paper].

TIP: Identify the journal’s typical audience and how those people can utilize your research to expand their understanding of a topic. For example, if many of your target journal’s readers are interested in the public policy implications of various research studies, you may wish to discuss how your conclusions can help your peers to develop stronger policies that more effectively address public concerns.

TIP: Include context about why this research question had to be addressed.

e.g.,  “Given the struggle policymakers have had to define proper criteria to diagnose the onset of depression in teenagers, we felt compelled to identify a cost-effective and universal methodology that local school administrators can use to screen students.”

TIP: If your paper was prompted by prior research, state this. For example, “After initially researching X, Y approached us to conduct a follow-up study that examined Z. While pursuing this project, we discovered [some new understanding that made you decide the information needed to be shared with your peers via publication.]”

e.g.,  Given the alarming increase in depression rates among teenagers and the lack of any uniform practical tests for screening students, we believe that the findings presented in our paper will appeal to education policymakers who subscribe to  The Journal of Education . Although prior research has identified a few methods that could be used in depression screening, such as X and Y, the applications developed from those findings have been cost-prohibitive and difficult to administer on a national level. Thus, our findings will allow your readers to understand the factors involved in identifying the onset of depression in teenagers better and develop more cost-effective screening procedures that can be employed nationally. In so doing, we hope that our research advances the toolset needed to combat the concerns preoccupying the minds of many school administrators.

[Para 3: Similar works]  “This manuscript expands on the prior research conducted and published by [Authors] in [Journal Name]” or “This paper [examines a different aspect of]/ [takes a different approach to] the issues explored in the following papers also published by [Journal Name].”

TIP: You should mention similar studies recently published by your target journal, if any, but list no more than five. If you only want to mention one article, replace the preceding sentence with “This paper [examines a different aspect of]/ [takes a different approach to] the issues explored by [Authors] in [Article Title], also published by [Journal Name] on [DATE].”

[Para. 4: Additional statements often required]  Each of the authors confirms that this manuscript has not been previously published and is not currently under consideration by any other journal. Additionally, all of the authors have approved the contents of this paper and have agreed to the [Journal Name]’s submission policies.

TIP: If you have previously publicly shared some form or part of your research elsewhere, state so. For example, you can say, “We have presented a subset of our findings [at Event]/ [as a Type of Publication Medium] in [Location] in [Year].”

e.g.,  We have since expanded the scope of our research to contemplate international feasibility and acquired additional data that has helped us to develop a new understanding of geographical influences.

[Para. 5: Potential Reviewers]  Should you select our manuscript for peer review, we would like to suggest the following potential reviewers/referees because they would have the requisite background to evaluate our findings and interpretation objectively.

To the best of our knowledge, none of the above-suggested persons have any conflict of interest, financial or otherwise.

TIP: Include 3–5 reviewers since it is likely that the journal will use at least one of your suggestions.

TIP: Use whichever term (“reviewer” or “referee”) your target journal uses. Paying close attention to a journal’s terminology is a sign that you have properly researched the journal and have prepared!

[Para. 6: Frequently requested additional information]  Each named author has substantially contributed to conducting the underlying research and drafting this manuscript. Additionally, to the best of our knowledge, the named authors have no conflict of interest, financial or otherwise.

[Your Name]

Corresponding Author Institution Title Institution/Affiliation Name [Institution Address] [Your e-mail address] [Tel: (include relevant country/area code)] [Fax: (include relevant country/area code)]

Additional Contact [should the corresponding author not be available] Institution Title Institution/Affiliation Name [Institution Address] [Your e-mail address] [Tel: (include relevant country/area code)] [Fax: (include relevant country/area code)]

Quick Cover Letter Checklist Before Submission

News, tips, and resources from the academic publishing experts at AJE

Author Resources

Writing a Journal Cover Letter [Free Template]

Journal cover letters are your chance to lobby on behalf of your manuscript. This AJE Journal Cover Letter Guide offers some useful tips for getting them right. It also includes a free journal cover letter template.

Ben Mudrak, PhD

Ben Mudrak, PhD

PhD, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Duke University

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The cover letter accompanying your journal submission is your chance to lobby on behalf of your manuscript. The letter is far from just a formality and should be written with the same care as your manuscript’s text (if not more). Ultimately, your cover letter is designed to influence the decision of the editor to send your manuscript out for peer review. The letter will argue that your manuscript is a good fit for the journal you are submitting it to and highlight your most important findings. Let us help you produce the most effective cover letter possible.

Getting ready to submit your manuscript? Download our comprehensive Free Journal Cover Letter Writing Guide with Template

A cover letter should be written like a standard business letter :

Address the editor formally by name, if known. Include your contact information, as well. This information is probably available through the journal’s online submission system, but it is proper to provide it in the cover letter, too.

Begin your cover letter with a paragraph that states the name of the manuscript and the names of the authors. You can also describe what type of manuscript your submission is (research article, review, case report , etc.). In this first paragraph and the next, describe the rationale behind your study and the major findings from your research. You can refer to prior work that you have published if it is directly related.

Next, write a short paragraph that explains why your manuscript would be a good fit for the journal. Do not simply state that your manuscript is “of interest to the field” or “novel.” Address specific aspects of the journal’s Aims & Scope statement. If the journal expresses interest in research with a clinical application, be sure to highlight the importance of your work in terms of clinical implications. If the journal mentions that it focuses on nanostructured materials, explain how your work involved such materials. Even if your work is not a perfect fit for the journal, be sure to address some of the Aims & Scope statement, and explain why your manuscript would be of interest to the journal’s readers.

Finally, close with a brief paragraph indicating the following:

Together, this information provides assurance to the editor that your manuscript merits consideration for publication in their journal and that you are interested specifically in their journal. Sometimes great science will be reviewed regardless of the cover letter, but a well written cover letter is useful for the vast majority of scientists who want to make their research stand out.

Best of luck with your research! If you have any questions about your cover letter, write us anytime.

Journal Cover Letter Templates

Click here to download a Microsoft Word template for a standard journal cover letter (also available with instructions in Chinese , Japanese , Korean , Portuguese , and Spanish ). A full set of the information in this post can be found here .

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Journal submission cover letter: length and references

I wrote a cover letter that takes 2 pages: 1 for the main text explaining the purpose of the research and why it is important, and 1 consisting of my name and institutional details plus references.

1) Should a cover letter be of 1 page maximum in general? It is not mentioned the journal's website. If this is the case, I guess I should play with the font size and line spacing.

2) Is it ok to include two citations to emphasize my writing? I included the two references right after mentioning my institutional details.

JrCaspian's user avatar

3 Answers 3

I think you should shoot for a one page cover letter, but it's not a requirement. The goal of the cover letter is to convince the editor that the submission is suited for their journal, and send it out to reviewers, so your first priority is to make the editor read the letter with a positive mind. This is usually easier with a shorter letter, but as I said, it's not an absolute requirement.

If your letter summarizes the results, discusses the potential readership, and also explicitly addresses e.g. significance criteria, it may be harder to fit it on one page. If fluff content like author names, affiliations*, etc. spill over on the next page, I wouldn't worry about it. If you fill the next page with more text, I'd start trying to cut down on it, if at all possible. What you shouldn't do is to play with margins and font sizes. That's very transparent, and doesn't improve e.g. word count and the reader's willingness to put in the time.

*I've never put affiliations in cover letters, as it is in the paper and submission systems anyway. Maybe this varies from field to field, and between single and double blind journals.

Anyon's user avatar

Shouldn't "explaining the purpose of the research and why it's important" be in the paper's abstract and introduction rather than in the cover letter? I'm accustomed to cover letters of the form "Dear [Editor's name], I would like to submit the [enclosed in the old days / attached nowadays] paper, [title of paper], for publication in [name of journal]. Sincerely, [name of author]".

Andreas Blass's user avatar

I have always written short cover letters (say, half a page). Something like

Dear [Editor / editor's name], We are pleased to submit the enclosed manuscript entitled [blahblah]. We believe it brings [blahblahblah] and has some applications in [blahblah]. Best regards, [your name], on behalf of the co-authors

Adding references is IMHO far too detailed! If the editor wants more details, he/she can read the abstract or the whole article.

You might want to specify your research field to get more specific answers.

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Writing a Cover Letter for Journal Submission

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One of the most neglected aspects of journal submission is the cover letter. Although it may seem like a formality, the cover letter is actually an important part of the submission process . The cover letter is your chance to tell the editor about your manuscript, why it is important, and how it fits into the scope of their journal. Overall, the letter should grab the editor’s attention. This letter should not be written hurriedly, because the quality of the cover letter can make or break your chances of publication . The cover letter should follow a fairly standard format.

Format of a Cover Letter

The first thing you need to do is check your target journal’s author instructions for the cover letter requirements . Sometimes, the journals will request that certain phrases or statements be included in the cover letter. If this is the case, then make sure that your letter contains all of the required information and statements mentioned in the instructions. Before writing the letter, here are a few key things to remember with regard to the format of the letter.

Points to Remember

In addition, there are certain key phrases that need to be included, and some of these are even required by most journals. It should be mentioned that the written manuscript is original and no part of it has been published before, nor is any part of it under consideration for publication at any another journal. The authors might also need to declare any conflicts of interest.

Related: Drafting your cover letter for manuscript submission ? Check out this post now for additional points to consider submitting your manuscript!

Finally, some journals require that you submit a list of potential reviewers in the cover letter and also allow you to mention any researchers who should not review your manuscript. All of these added statements are a very important to consider while writing a cover letter , especially if they are required by the journal, and contribute to the editors overall view of your manuscript submission. Do not forget to proofread your cover letter several times. The text should be revised for clarity and succinctness. Points or sentences that stray from the focus should be removed and all the sentences should be directly related to the purpose, the main results, and the most important findings and conclusions.

In addition, all basic grammar and construction issues should be corrected during the revision. If you need help with the revision, you can include your cover letter with your manuscript when seeking for a professional proofreading service . If you are still unsure of where to start with your cover letter, there several templates available that can help. We have listed some of these below:

https://spie.org/Documents/Publications/ Journals / sample _ cover _ letter .doc

www.springer.com/cda/content/document/…/JGIM+ Cover + letter + templates .doc

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Writing and formatting

In this section:

The cover letter gives you the opportunity to present an overview of your manuscript to the editor.

Your cover letter should include

You’re encouraged to submit previous communications as they can help expedite the review process. If you have any of the following, you can submit them as ‘Supplementary file for editors only’:

NIH Employees

If you or any of your co-authors are NIH employees, you will have to submit a completed and signed NIH Publishing Agreement and Manuscript Cover Sheet according to NIH’s Employee Procedures .

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Initial submission

Submissions for Articles, Reviews and Perspectives, and Matters Arising must be submitted via our online submission system . Please follow these guidelines to ensure that your submission proceeds smoothly.

If your manuscript and figures are ready to submit according to the manuscript formatting guidelines and requirements below, please proceed directly to the online submission system .

Brief guide for submission to Nature

This guide outlines key points for preparing primary research manuscripts for submission to Nature .

The corresponding author should be familiar with the Nature journals’ editorial policies and is solely responsible for communicating with the journal and managing communication between coauthors. Before submission, the corresponding author ensures that all authors are included in the author list and agree with its order, and that they are aware the manuscript is to be submitted. For more information on editorial and authorship policies , please review our Guide to Authors .

Cover letter

Although optional, the cover letter is an excellent opportunity to briefly discuss the importance of the submitted work and why it is appropriate for the journal. Please avoid repeating information that is already present in the abstract and introduction. The cover letter is not shared with the referees, and should be used to provide confidential information such as conflicts of interest and to declare any related work that is in press or submitted elsewhere.

All authors must complete an  editorial policy checklist  to ensure compliance with Nature Research editorial policies. Please note: because of the advanced features used in the form, you must use  Adobe Reader  to open the document and fill it out.

Main manuscript

The Nature journals are flexible with regard to the format of initial submissions. Within reason, style and length will not influence consideration of a manuscript. If revisions are requested, the editor will provide detailed formatting instructions at that time.

To facilitate the review process however, we strongly encourage you to incorporate the manuscript text and figures into a single PDF or Microsoft Word file. Suitably high resolution figures may be inserted within the text at appropriate positions or grouped at the end. Each figure legend should be presented on the same page as its figure. The reference list should include article titles. If providing a PDF, please number all lines. The submission system will number all lines in a Word document for you. We accept LaTeX files at the acceptance stage, but before that time please supply PDFs.

Title .Titles must fit on two lines in print (75 characters including spaces) and should avoid technical terms, abbreviations and active verbs.

Authors . Corresponding author(s) should be identified with an asterisk. Large Language Models (LLMs), such as ChatGPT , do not currently satisfy our authorship criteria . Notably an attribution of authorship carries with it accountability for the work, which cannot be effectively applied to LLMs. Use of an LLM should be properly documented in the Methods section (and if a Methods section is not available, in a suitable alternative part) of the manuscript.

Abstract . Provide a general introduction to the topic and a brief non-technical summary of your main results and their implication.

Text length and formatting . Attention to the following details can help expedite publication if we invite a revision after external review.

A fully referenced ~200 word summary paragraph; main text of 2,500 words and 4 modest display items (figures, tables) for a typical 6 page article and 4300 words and 5-6 modest display items for a typical 8 page article; as a guideline up to 50 references if needed and within the allocated page budget. Sections can be separated with subheadings to aid navigation.

Please consult Nature's content types for final length and formatting requirements of other article types.

Methods . The Methods section appears in most online original research articles and should contain all elements necessary for interpretation and replication of the results. Methods should be written as concisely as possible and typically do not exceed 3,000 words but may be longer if necessary. Methods-only references do not count against your reference limit. We encourage you to deposit any step-by-step protocols used in your study in Protocol Exchange , an open resource maintained by Nature Research. These protocols are linked to the Methods section upon publication.

References . These may only contain citations and should list only one publication with each number. Include the title of the cited article or dataset.

Acknowledgements (optional). Keep acknowledgements brief and do not include thanks to anonymous referees or editors, or effusive comments. Grant or contribution numbers may be acknowledged.

Author contributions . You must include a statement that specifies the individual contributions of each co-author. For example: "A.P.M. ‘contributed’ Y and Z; B.T.R. ‘contributed’ Y,” etc. See our authorship policies for more details.

Competing interests . Submission of a competing interests statement is required for all content of the journal.

Materials & Correspondence . Indicate the author to whom correspondence and material requests should be addressed.

Tables . Each table should be accompanied by a short title sentence describing what the table shows. Further details can be included as footnotes to the table.

High-resolution image files are not required at initial submission, but please ensure images are of sufficient resolution for referees to properly assess the data. We prefer the figures to be incorporated with the manuscript text into a single Word doc or PDF at initial submission, but if necessary, supply separate image files or deposit image data in a suitable repository (e.g. figshare ) for this purpose.

Should your manuscript be accepted, you will receive more extensive instructions for final submission of display items. However, some guidelines for final figure preparation are included below and here if you wish to minimize later revisions and possible delays.

Provide images in RGB color and at 300 dpi or higher resolution.

Use the same typeface (Arial or Helvetica) for all figures. Use symbol font for Greek letters.

Use distinct colors with comparable visibility and avoid the use of red and green for contrast. Recoloring primary data, such as fluorescence images, to color-safe combinations such as green and magenta or other accessible color palettes is strongly encouraged. Use of the rainbow color scale should be avoided.

Figures are best prepared at a width of 90 mm (single column) and 180 mm (double column) with a maximum height of 170mm.. At this size, the font size should be 5-7pt.

We require vector files with editable layers. Acceptable formats are: .ai, .eps, .pdf, .ps, .svg for fully editable vector-based art; layered .psd or .tif for editable layered art; .psd, .tif, .png or .jpg for bitmap images; .ppt if fully editable and without styling effects; ChemDraw (.cdx) for chemical structures. A guide to preparing final figures is available here: New style guides - Google Drive .

Please refer to the Nature Research chemical structures style guide for formatting of chemical structures.

Figure legends of <250 words each should begin with a brief title sentence for the whole figure and continue with a short statement of what is depicted in the figure, not the results (or data) of the experiment or the methods used. Legends should be detailed enough so that each figure and caption can, as far as possible, be understood in isolation from the main text.

Statistical information

Comprehensive information on the statistical analyses used must be included in the paper. The Methods must include a statistics section where you describe the statistical tests used and whether they were one- or two-tailed. Please ensure that the error bars are defined throughout the figures. For all statistics (including error bars), provide the EXACT n values used to calculate the statistics (reporting individual values rather than a range if n varied among experiments). For representative results, report the number of times that the measurements were repeated. Where relevant, provide exact values for both significant and non-significant P values. For ANOVAs, provide F values and degrees of freedom. For t -tests, provide t-values and degrees of freedom. Please specifically define the replicates.

Extended data

To improve its readability and navigability online, all data integral to the work being described should be included in up to ten multi-panel Extended Data display items similar to regular printed figures and tables. These will not appear in print but are included in the online versions of the published article. If the main finding includes a complex process we encourage the inclusion of a schematic to aid readers unfamiliar with the topic. For initial submission you may include Extended Data items as regular display items in the body of the manuscript or as Supplementary Information. But if accepted for publication, all Extended Data will need to be properly formatted .

Compound numbering

All individual inorganic and organic chemical compounds should be identified by bold numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.), including those that are only mentioned in the manuscript or supplementary information, independent of whether they were utilized in the reported experiments. Standard buffers, reagents and solvents should not be numbered. Please number compounds in order of their appearance in the main text. Alphanumeric numbering can also be used, but try to be logical, for example, starting materials called 1a, 1b, 1c... give products called 2a, 2b, 2c... and so on.

Supplementary information

This should be limited to material that is essential background (for example, large data sets and calculations), but which is too large, impractical or specialized to justify inclusion in the printed version of the article. Any figures or small tables should ideally be supplied as Extended Data, not Supplementary Information.

Data availability

Please provide a Data Availability statement in the Methods section under “Data Availability”; detailed guidance can be found in our data availability and data citations policy . Certain data types must be deposited in an appropriate public structured data depository (details are available here ), and the accession number(s) provided in the manuscript. Full access is required at publication. Should full access to data be required for peer review, authors must provide it.

We encourage provision of other source data in unstructured public depositories such as Dryad or figshare , or as supplementary information. To maximize data reuse, we encourage publication of detailed descriptions of datasets in Scientific Data .

Crystallographic data

Manuscripts reporting new crystallographic structures of small molecules must be accompanied by a standard .cif file. A structural figure with probability ellipsoids should be included in the main supplementary information file. The structure factors for each structure should also be submitted, preferably embedded in the main .cif file, although they may be provided as a separate .hkl and/or .fcf file. Use of the 2014 version of the program SHELXL, which embeds the structure factors information in the main .cif file, is encouraged. The structure factors and structural output must be checked using IUCr's CheckCIF routine and a PDF copy of the output supplied, explaining any A- or B-level alerts.

Computer code

Any previously unreported custom computer code used to generate results reported in the manuscript and that are central to the main claims must be made available to editors and referees upon request. Any practical issues preventing code sharing will be evaluated by the editors who reserve the right to decline the manuscript if important code is unavailable. At publication, Nature journals consider it best practice to release custom computer code in a way that allows readers to repeat the published results.

For all studies using custom code that is deemed central to the conclusions, a statement must be included in the Methods section, under the heading "Code availability", indicating whether and how the code can be accessed, including any restrictions.

Life sciences and behavioural & social sciences reporting guidelines

To improve the transparency of reporting and the reproducibility of published results, authors of life sciences and behavioural & social sciences research articles must provide a completed  reporting summary  that will be made available to editors and reviewers during manuscript assessment. The reporting summary will be published with all accepted manuscripts.

Please note: because of the advanced features used in the form, you must use  Adobe Reader  to open the document and fill it out.

Guidance and resources related to the use and reporting of statistics are available  here .

Human subject data

If you are reporting phase II or phase III randomized controlled trials you must refer to the CONSORT Statement for recommendations to facilitate the complete and transparent reporting of trial findings. Reports that do not conform to the CONSORT guidelines may need to be revised before peer review. We encourage authors reporting prognostic studies with tumor markers to follow the REMARK reporting guidelines.

Before the start of patient enrollment prospective clinical trials must be registered in www.clinicaltrials.gov or a similar public repository that matches ICMJE criteria and the trial registration number reported in the manuscript.

For describing human biospecimens, we recommend referring to the BRISQ reporting guidelines and ensuring at least Tier 1 characteristics are provided (doi: 10.1002/cncy.20147).

Related manuscripts

It is a requirement of submission that you alert us to any related manuscripts with overlapping authorship that are under consideration (including under appeal) or in press at other journals (see our editorial policies on duplicate submissions for details). Copies of these manuscripts should be clearly marked and included as separate files with your submission.

Preprint servers

The Nature journals support the posting of submitted manuscripts on community preprint servers such as arXiv and bioRxiv . We do, however, ask you to respect the following summaries of our policies:

Double-blind peer review

If you want to participate in double-blind peer review, prepare your manuscript in a way that conceals the identities of all the authors and tick the appropriate box during online submission. We recommend that authors refer to our double-blind peer review guidelines when preparing a double-blind peer review manuscript. Note that editors do not ensure that the paper is properly anonymized; that is the authors' responsibility.

Transferring your manuscript

If an editor is unable to offer publication of your manuscript, you have the opportunity to transfer all manuscript materials, the decision letter and any referee comments to a selection of Springer Nature journals without re-entering submission information. Use the link in your decision letter to explore suggested alternative journals. You may then initiate the transfer process to the journal of your choice or submit elsewhere. Please see this page for more information.

Authors who feel that they have strong grounds for appealing a decision may contact the journal to request the opening of an appeal, after which they may upload a cogently argued rebuttal letter that addresses the referees’ and/or editor’s comments in a point-by-point manner. Decisions are reversed on appeal only if the editors are convinced that the original decision was made in error or critical new information or data has been added.

Comments on published articles

Exceptionally interesting or important scientific comments and clarifications on peer-reviewed articles published in Nature may be submitted as Matters Arising .

Questions and manuscript submission

General editorial enquiries should be addressed to the Editor at [email protected] Manuscripts should be submitted through our online submission system . Further submission details are available here .

Quick links

is cover letter necessary for journal submission

The Caffeinated Writer

The Caffeinated Writer

Michelle Richmond

Jul 22, 2016

How to Write a Cover Letter for a Literary Journal Submission

Why you don’t need to stand out in your cover letter.

As the publisher of Fiction Attic Press , which publishes flash fiction , short stories , essays , and novellas-in-flash by new and established writers, I receive a few dozen submissions each month through our submittable portal . In the 17 years since Fiction Attic began, I’ve read thousands of cover letters for journal submissions. Some are good, some are bad, and most are forgettable. It might surprise you to know that the most forgettable cover letters are often the best. That’s because a cover letter for a literary magazine submission should be a bridge to get the reader as quickly as possible to the story. Unlike a query letter, which should drum up excitement about a novel or article you want to submit, a cover letter’s job is to be as brief and invisible as possible.

What Not to Do in Your Cover Letter

A cover letter is never a place to be cute, as in, “I live with my seven gerbils and love Swedish Fish!” That’s great if you’re submitting to a high school writing contest or venue, but for most literary magazines, leave the Swedish fish out of it, unless you know that the editor is a huge fan of Swedish Fish.

Explain, praise, or summarize the story

Your cover letter isn’t a place to sing your own praises — “This story is a riveting journey into the mind of a madman. It offers a unique perspective on mental illness and will be sure to wow your readers.”

Let the reader be the judge of that.

Praise Oneself

Your cover letter definitely shouldn’t vaguely mention publications and awards without backing them up. I recently received a submission with a cover letter that began:

PUBLICATIONS & AWARDS: To date, 30+ short fiction publications in print and online and 12 writing awards. Details on request.

The first problem with this letter is that it isn’t a letter. There’s no salutation. The second problem is that it comes off as arrogant. The writer assumes that this single submission is so important that the editor will take the time and effort to contact the writer requesting “details” of the writer’s publications and awards.

It would be far more impressive to name one or two good publications and one or two real awards. “12 writing awards” could mean that the writer won best essay in a college writing contest, which is irrelevant to an editor. The fact that the writer doesn’t specifically name the awards or publications makes me think they’re not worth mentioning.

Quote Amazon reviews of previous books or stories

Ugh, just…no.

When you’re pitching a book to an agent, of course, you may quote newspaper, magazine, and trade publication reviews of previous books, but writing a query letter for an agent is an entirely different skill. There is no reason to quote reviews in a submission to a journal. Editors don’t expect you to have reviews unless you have a published book; because you’re not submitting a published book to a literary journal, a review has no place in your letter.

The most forgettable cover letters are often the best.

Your cover letter shouldn’t

What To Include in Your Cover Letter for a Literary Journal Submission

What your cover letter should do is indicate your professionalism so the editor can get past the cover letter and on to the story. It should be a gateway, not a barrier.

It should include a salutation addressed to the correct editor, a brief statement including the title and length of what you’re submitting, a brief bio including two to three previous publications if you have them, and a polite sign-off (known in traditional letter-writing as the complimentary close and the signature).

Whether you have zero publications to your name or an impressive bibliography, if your cover letter is professional, most editors will eagerly set the letter aside and begin reading the story. Remember, editors love to “discover” unpublished writers, so the absence of previous publications isn’t a problem. If the letter is unprofessional, on the other hand, editors will approach the story warily, expecting it to be as poorly executed as the letter.

Your cover letter should indicate your professionalism so the editor can get past the cover letter and on to the story.

A Good Literary Magazine Submission Cover Letter

I wanted to share with you a cover letter in which the writer does almost everything right. This letter came in “over the transom” (publishing speak for unsolicited) through Fiction Attic’s Submittable page .

Dear Fiction Attic Press, Thank you for considering my work. I am an emerging writer with only a small scattering of published pieces. I appreciate all the time and attention my work receives. I look forward to hearing from you. This is a simultaneous submission. I will withdraw the piece immediately if it is accepted elsewhere. I am a writer and graduate student in the MA English program at *** University. My work has been published in *** and ***, and is forthcoming in ***. I live in *** with my fiancée, Jane. Sincerely, Joe Writer

Why the letter works:

So, there you have it: a simple, effective letter for a literary magazine submission.

One more tip: although you don’t want your letter to be overly familiar, if you share a genuine connection with the editor, mention it. For example: On a personal note, I noticed that you attended The University of Alabama. I was a student there from 2002 to 2006. Roll Tide! If someone wrote this in a letter, I would notice, and it would give me the warm fuzzies.

And just one more: Another thing you might mention in your letter is a recent story or two that you admire from the publication, to show that you’ve done your research and understand what kind of work the journal publishes.

Now, go forth and submit!

psst… a shout-out to Laurel Moon , the literary magazine of Brandeis University, for linking to this post in its submission guidelines .

SUBMIT your flash fiction and to Fiction Attic. Submit your novella-in-flash (we are actively seeking our first novella-in-flash for serial publication).

Hone your flash fiction and write twelve flash fictions in four weeks in the Fiction Attic Press flash fiction intensive . All stories submitted for this class are automatically considered for publication in Fiction Attic.

Michelle Richmond is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels and two story collections, including most recently The Wonder Test . Her books have been published in 30 languages.

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Essays on novel writing, publishing, and the writing life from New York Times bestselling novelist Michelle Richmond.

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  2. How to Write the Best Journal Submission Cover Letter :: Wordvice

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  4. Cover Letter Template Journal Submission : 27+ Cover Letter For Journal Submission

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  6. Sample cover letter for the submission of manuscript

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COMMENTS

  1. How to write a cover letter for journal submission

    The cover letter should explain why your work is perfect for their journal and why it will be of interest to the journal's readers. When writing for publication, a well-written cover letter can help your paper reach the next stage of the manuscript submission process - being sent out for peer review.

  2. Cover letters

    The cover letter is a formal way to communicate with journal editors and editorial staff during the manuscript submission process. Most often, a cover letter is needed when authors initially submit their manuscript to a journal and when responding to reviewers during an invitation to revise and resubmit the manuscript.

  3. Cover letters

    A good cover letter can help to "sell" your manuscript to the journal editor. As well as introducing your work to the editor you can also take this opportunity to explain why the manuscript will be of interest to a journal's readers, something which is always as the forefront editors' mind.

  4. What should be included in a cover letter?

    You may be required to submit a cover letter with your submission. Individual journals may have specific requirements regarding the cover letter's contents, so please consult the individual journal's Guide for Authors. A cover letter is a simple, brief business letter, designed to introduce your manuscript to a prospective Editor.

  5. What is the point of a cover letter in journal submission?

    Many journals do specify that cover letters are optional. From my experience, most people write cover letters in journal submission, but I am also aware that articles can also be published without the cover letter. Therein arises the question: why are cover letters written if they are not necessary for the publication process?

  6. Journal Article Publication Letters

    A journal publication letter, also known as a journal article submission cover letter, is a cover letter written to a peer-reviewed journal to advocate for the publication of a manuscript. Not all journals ask for a publication letter. Some see publication letters as optional, but many peer-reviewed academic journals request or require them.

  7. Is the cover letter necessary when submitting an article to a journal

    In fact, one of the most neglected aspects of journal submission is the cover letter. The cover letter is your chance to tell the editor about your manuscript, why it is important, and how it fits into the scope of their journal. Overall, the letter should grab the editor's attention.

  8. Cover Letter for Journal Submission: Sample & How To Write

    The first paragraph of your cover letter for journal submission must present the title of your manuscript. It's also worth noting the type of article, such as review, case study, research, etc. Then, explain why you've conducted your research and mention the main findings. Cover Letter for Journal Submission Sample Right Sushmita Devi, M. Sc.

  9. Manuscript Submission Guidelines: Journal of Service Research: SAGE

    Cover Letter: This is optional. This can include your vision for the paper, suggestions for possible peer reviewers, and anything else you wish the editor to know. You do not submit this as a separate document of your manuscript; JSR's submission process in ManuscriptCentral will prompt you to type in or upload a "cover letter" explicitly.

  10. Is a Cover Letter Necessary? (With Other FAQs About Cover Letters)

    Cover letters are commonly used when applying for jobs, but they may not always be necessary. Some employers may not want to review many cover letters or might want to test how people follow instructions by saying not to include one. If you're applying for jobs, you may not be sure when a cover letter is necessary.

  11. How to Write a Cover Letter for a Journal Article Submission

    Here are the steps that you can take to write a cover letter when submitting an article to a journal: 1. Review the list of requirements Often, a journal has a list of requirements for writers to follow when submitting a piece of work. It may require that you include certain documents, like previously published work or legal compliance documents.

  12. Guide for ACS Publications journal manuscript submission

    Cover letter. A cover letter must accompany every manuscript submission. During the submission process, you may type it or paste it into the submission system, or you may attach it as a file. Consult the journal-specific Author Guidelines for details on requirements of the cover letter. Manuscript components

  13. How to Write a Cover Letter for Journal Submission

    With that said, below is a list of the most common elements you must include in your cover letter and what information you should NOT include: Essential information: Editor's name (when known) Name of the journal to which you are submitting Your manuscript's title Article type (review, research, case study, etc.) Submission date

  14. How To Write a Cover Letter for a Research Paper (Plus Example)

    Cover letters for research papers provide journal editors with a brief summation of your article. A cover letter is also an opportunity to show the importance or impact of your article within your field and explain why the journal you're sending your manuscript to may be interested in publishing it.

  15. How important is the cover letter when submitting an article to a

    A cover letter is the most essential part, that needs to be considered while submission of an article in a Journal. I have found one article that best describes the important components of...

  16. Writing a Journal Cover Letter [Free Template]

    A cover letter should be written like a standard business letter: Address the editor formally by name, if known. Include your contact information, as well. This information is probably available through the journal's online submission system, but it is proper to provide it in the cover letter, too. Begin your cover letter with a paragraph ...

  17. Journal submission cover letter: length and references

    1. I think you should shoot for a one page cover letter, but it's not a requirement. The goal of the cover letter is to convince the editor that the submission is suited for their journal, and send it out to reviewers, so your first priority is to make the editor read the letter with a positive mind. This is usually easier with a shorter letter ...

  18. Writing a cover letter for journal submission (Download template)

    Most journals require that a cover letter be submitted along with each manuscript submitted for publication. Unfortunately, few authors are aware of the actual impact that a cover letter can have: it provides an excellent opportunity to communicate with the journal editor and draw his or her interest to the submitted manuscript.

  19. Writing a Cover Letter for Journal Submission

    One of the most neglected aspects of journal submission is the cover letter. Although it may seem like a formality, the cover letter is actually an important part of the submission process. The cover letter is your chance to tell the editor about your manuscript, why it is important, and how it fits into the scope of their journal.

  20. Writing a cover letter

    Your cover letter should include. The objective and approach of your research. Any novel contributions reported. Why your manuscript should be published in this journal. Any special considerations about your submission. Related papers by you and/or your fellow authors (published or under consideration) Previous reviews of your submission.

  21. Initial submission

    Cover letter Although optional, the cover letter is an excellent opportunity to briefly discuss the importance of the submitted work and why it is appropriate for the journal.

  22. Manuscript Submission Guidelines: The American Journal of Sports

    Use the link "Submit a Letter to the Editor" at the top of the page. Letters should include all authors' names at the end of the body of the letter. The author disclosure form and contributor publishing agreement are required for letters to the editor. Letters will be sent to the author of the paper discussed for a reply. Back to top. 8.

  23. How to Write a Cover Letter for a Literary Journal Submission

    That's because a cover letter for a literary magazine submission should be a bridge to get the reader as quickly as possible to the story. Unlike a query letter, which should drum up...

  24. How To Write A Nursing Cover Letter [Template And Tips]

    The information in your cover letter's header should match your resume's header. In a perfect world, these two documents have the same design and make a cohesive package.Include your full name in the header, usually in a larger font. You also want to include your credentials (e.g., Jane Otto, BSN, RN).