The freelance writer cover letter is often the first writing sample a prospective client or editor actually sees; that makes them a most important piece of writing.
The cover letter is also a different kind of writing than say article writing or blog posts, or book writing.
It’s really a sales document that’s designed to get a prospective client or editor’s interest.
Here are six secrets that will make your freelance writer cover letters serve exactly the way you want them to.
6 Secrets of the freelance writer cover letter
Can you skip it?
Not every proposal, query or other piece of writing you send needs a cover letter.
Often cover letters merely state the obvious. For example, if you’ve been given an assignment you don’t need a cover letter to introduce it.
If what you’re sending doesn’t require a cover letter, skip it, unless its asked for specifically. None of us need more paper or longer emails.
What’s the goal of your cover letter?
What are you trying to achieve? Get an interview? Throw your hat in the ring for a job? Respond to an ad? Create a query? (Yes, query letters and cover letters have a great deal in common.)
Make the purpose clear
Make sure your goal is obvious right from the beginning. For example, if I’m responding to a book ghostwriting ad or to a request for information, I may start with something like “I may be your ghostwriter.”
You might refer to the interview, or the job, or… you get the idea.
Keep it short
I looked at several samples of cover letters and each was at least three or four paragraphs long. In most cases that’s too long. You want your cover letter to intrigue, not bore the recipient. Usually that means shorter is better.
Of course there are exceptions. Use your judgement, knowing that, on the whole, briefer is better.
Triple proof it
Read and proof read and copy edit and proof your freelance writer cover letter. If you can, get someone else to cast a wary eye for you. Letting a typo slip through does truly damage your chances of getting the gig or having the query or proposal accepted.
Send a copy to yourself first
Email is tricky. To be sure almost every type of email software can display what you write in reasonable fashion, you want to limit the length to about 55 characters. You can set it up that way then email yourself a copy and that will give you an approximation of what it will look like to the recipient. Don’t use any fancy fonts, and keep font sizes around 11 or 12 points.
There you have it, six secrets or tips to writing great cover letters.
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Write well and often,