An Honest Cover Letter

Dear Publisher or Literary Agency,

I love reading. I love writing. I bet you hear this all the time, but I just want you to know that I mean it. When I begin to talk about books, I feel my stomach leaping and the tips of my toes curl in excitement. When I sit down to write every day, I feel as if this is something I will gladly be doing for the rest of my life, even if it doesn’t result in a lot of money. I’m fully willing to become a waitress to support my writing habit.

However, it’s probably harder getting published as an unknown waitress who writes during her hours off than as a literary agent or editor at a publishing house. Working with you will give me an “in.” Am I being too blunt? Forgive me, but that’s the point. I’ve spent the last two and a half hours drafting (or attempting to draft) clever, concise and comprehensive cover letters in which I subtly explain why I will get down on my knees and beg to work for you. My mind is fairly wrung out, and so in order to refresh and cleanse it, I’m telling you the truth.

The truth is that while my biggest goal isn’t to become a publisher or literary agent, these are jobs that I would do a lot to get if they would help me support my writing habit while also letting me deal with books all day. I’ve been working in a bookstore during the last month, and I’ve found that the mere presence of hundreds of books is enough to keep me motivated and happy. Only think how well I’ll work for you at a job that would involve not only seeing books but reading manuscripts and writing letters!

I fear that my formulaic cover letters will get swallowed in the mass of other likely, qualified candidates that will contact you. If I had the guts, I’d send you this letter instead – although, to be fair, I’d probably work at it a lot longer and make it wittier and more touching than it is.

The bottom line (or, rather, lines) is that I love books, I’m passionate about the written word, and I would love to work anywhere that helps in the process of getting a book from the writer’s personal hard-drive and into the bookstore where I happily purchase it. Even though you’re businesses and your goal is to profit, you also save my life along the way by continuing to publish the books without which I wouldn’t know how to survive the emotional and mental turmoil that every human being goes through.

Hire me, hire me, hire me,

Help me keep writing and books in my life forever by letting me leap into the publishing world during my sophomore year at college,

(I promise you won’t regret it,)

Sincerely,

SlightlyIgnorant

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Return of the Book Week (the Length of Which is Ten Days, Actually)

Last year, some of you may vaguely remember (in the farthest recesses of your mind that contain those details that are actually pretty useless and unneeded), I worked at Hebrew Book Week. I’m doing the same thing this year, and today I spent some seven hours setting up stalls, heaving books out of boxes, removing the books from their plastic wrappings and setting them out. My back aches, my wrists hurt and my legs are exhausted, but I got to handle books all day, and in my opinion that’s the best kind of manual labor for me.

Until June 25, I might not have as much time to read all of your lovely blogs as often, although I’ll do my best. I do have most mornings off, but since I’m working on different versions of my resume and gearing myself up to start writing cover letters, I might not have those mornings as leisurely times. I’m applying to internships, you see, at publishing houses and literary agencies in New York City, for next year, and it’s all very exciting and nerve-wracking.

Finally, my current work in progress is coming on well. I think I may have written what is going to be its closing paragraph today, which felt incredible. Since this is the first book I’ve written that has been new to me with every sentence I write, I’m excited to see that maybe it’s actually going to wrap itself up and not leave me hanging and confused as to what on earth I’m supposed to do with the collection of moments in it.