Friday, 6 April 2012

The dreaded covering letter

What am I doing right now?  On this glorious blue sky, sunny bank holiday Friday?  I’m trying to write a covering letter for Silver.

Note the word ‘trying’.

I hate writing covering letters.  I haven’t even started on the synopsis yet but if memory serves I hate those as well.
I’m sat with my laptop, a guide to getting published open next to me and a Google window searching for covering letter samples, determined to do this right.

I started off ok, my contact details, the date, a space for the agent’s address.  It was all going so well.  Even the first paragraph went without a hitch.  I can just about introduce Silver (it’s amazing how you can spend a year of your life writing something, know it inside out and love it like a child but when someone asks you what it’s about you stumble and stutter and gibberish comes out).  It’s the paragraph about me that I hate and after five attempts I’m very tempted to just write ‘please’ over and over.

The book I have open says that while covering letters are important, they’re not that important.  On the contrary, an article I just read states that covering letters are the most important thing.  You know what riles me the most?  I have spent a year or so of my life putting my heart and soul into this book and I know that it’s the best thing I’ve done so far.  I would hate for it to fail just because of one little letter.  And one little letter should not be this hard to write!

I am reminded of my favourite book, ‘The Body’ by Stephen King where Mr King writes;

The most important things are the hardest to say...because words diminish them...

Perhaps the best approach to covering letters is to take the pressure away.  To have a book published may be a lifelong dream but it must be put into perspective; most writers do not get their first, second or even third books published (Silver is my second).  If I don’t make it now I will do in the future.

And relax.

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