“What goes in the cover letter then?”
Something a little snappier this week.
I was approached by a colleague the other day for advice on writing a cover letter for a manuscript. Here are my quick tried and tested, waffle free tips:
- Address it to a named editor – but make 100% sure you have the correct name
- Meticulously follow all requirements laid out in the instructions for authors, they often request specific conflict of interest or authorship wording for the cover letter
- Keep it under one page
- Explicitly ask to be considered for publication in the first paragraph
- Cite one or two previously published papers if relevant, especially if high impact and/or yours. This is a great way to introduce the why
- We show that…be brief, honest and jargon free. Don’t copy from the manuscript
- …This is important because…as per 6
- …This has implications for…as per 6 and tailor to the interests of the journal
- State how your manuscript would appeal to the readership of x journal in the final paragraph
- Name drop; discreetly. There are exceptions to this but generally I advise to sign the letter from the senior author, the editor is more likely to know or have heard of them
There you have it, my not so secret recipe. I think after a while we all develop our own style and templates for these kinds of thing, what are your winning tips and/or experiences with manuscript cover letters?