information design book

AN ODE TO THE COVER LETTER

By Carolyn Zimatore, Director, Talent Management at HarperCollins Publishers

My five-year anniversary with HarperCollins has come and gone. On top of that I celebrated my ten-year anniversary in book publishing this past March, and I still have to pinch myself sometimes because every day I get to work with such intelligent, creative, and passionate people. Book publishing is a very special industry—you get into it because you love books, you care about them, you love talking about them, you love how they feel,you love how they make you feel. That’s why to me, whose primary job function is to hire people into book publishing, the cover letter is so very important.

Here are some great reasons why you should submit a well-written, well-thought-out cover letter each and every time you apply for a job in publishing.

We want to know the “why”

Why do you want to work at HarperCollins? Why are you interested in working on, let’s say, romance novels, if that’s the job you are applying for? Why do you want to be an editor? I don’t like to think of publishing as just a job. It’s a career, and it’s full of people who LOVE books. We want to know that you love books, too.

This is especially important if you have no publishing experience, or you are looking to switch industries. Prove to me that you aren’t just going to indeed.com and applying to every opening that has the word “marketing” in the title. It’s fine if that’s how you found the job opening, but we want to know you are excited about the prospect of marketing books.

It is also great if you write about why you are interested in the imprint or genre the job works with. It helps if you already have a love of informative, beautifully designed books if you are applying to a job with HarperDesign, for example.

I am not sure which is worse: a generic cover letter that says “I would like the open position at your company” without any mention of what the company is or what the job is or why you want the job, or no cover letter at all.

Interested in multiple job openings?

That’s great! You should apply for them—but there has to be a reason why, let’s say, you like subsidiary rights and design. What aspects of those jobs, based on your knowledge of them or on what you read in the job ad, do you think you would like?

And you should be submitting a separate cover letter for EACH. Why? Because they are different jobs! In the second paragraph of your cover letter, I should know why you are qualified for the job. Do you have experience doing some of the things that you would be doing in the role? Address it! Even if it is not spot-on but a transferrable skill—explain it.

Address any holes in your resume.

Don’t live in the area? We tend to fill jobs very quickly, so if you are planning on taking a month or more to move to the NYC area AFTER you get a job offer, it is going to take you a long time and a lot of applications before you find something. But perhaps you have a friend who already lives in the area and he or she said you can crash at their place for a few weeks while you find your own apartment—note that in the cover letter! You can say “while I currently reside in ___, I have a place to stay and I would be able to start within two weeks of an accepted offer.”

Look, I know applying to jobs is incredibly stressful, and doing it right can be very time-consuming. That being said, putting extra effort into your cover letter—at least when it comes to applying for jobs in publishing—will really pay off.

The resume does not tell your whole story—you see what I did there?—use your cover letter to show your interest the job and why you are qualified for it.

Good luck, and I hope to read your cover letter in the future!

The Wiccan Rede (explained)

I picked up a book a couple of months ago called the Ultimate Encyclopedia of Spells by Michael Johnstone. The title is a little over the top but so far i think it’s pretty good :) I’m not usually one to buy ‘spell books’ i much prefer information books and design my own spells from what i’ve learned but it was £2 from a second hand book shop so i thought why not.

It does have some very good information and a great explanation of the Wiccan Rede which i thought i would share with you guys :)

Bide the Wiccan Law you must, in perfect love and perfect trust.

(Keep the laws of Wicca lovingly and with perfect trust)

Live and let live, fairly take and fairly give.

(Treat both nature and people as you would like to be treated)

Cast the circle thrice about, to keep unwelcome spirits out.

(When making magic, Wiccans usually cast a circle around themselves. They do this three times because the number three stands for the three phases of the Lord and the Lady)

To bind the spell every time, Let the spell be spoke in rhyme.

(By speaking their spells in rhyme, Wiccans believe it give the conscious mind something to think about, while the unconscious mind taps into the energy of nature and the magic is done)

Soft of eye and light of touch, Speak ye little and listen much.

(Wise magic users are gentle. They listen and learn)

Doesil go by the waxing moon, Sing and dance the Witches’ Rune.

(When the moon is waxing - moving from slim crescent to plump fullness, it is time to move round the ritual circle clockwise as this draws in good things)

Widdershins go when the moon doth wane, And werewolves howl by the dream wolfsbane.

(When the moon is waning it is time to move round the circle anti-clockwise as this takes away negativity. Wolfbane’s toxicity makes it a feared plant)

When the Lady’s moon is the new, Kiss thy hand to her times two.

(Welcome the new moon - just visible in the sky after the being dark for three nights - welcome her by kissing the index and middle finger twice)

When the moon rides at her peak, then your hearts desire speak.

(When the moon is full, you can ask her for anything as she will grant the heart’s desire)

Heed the north wind’s mighty gale, Lock the door and trim the sail. When the wind comes from the south, Love will kiss thee on the mouth. When the wind blows from the east. expect the new and set the feast. When the west wind blows o'er thee, the departed spirits restless be.

(These lines refer to the elements with the four directions)

Nine woods in the cauldron go, Burn them quick and burn them slow, Elder be the Lady’s tree, Burn it not or cursed ye’ll be

(There are nine different magical woods burned in the cauldron during various rituals - apple, birch, fir, hawthorn, oak, rowan, vine and willow. Elder wood is never burned because the tree is sacred to the Lady)

When the wheel begins to turn, Let the Beltane fires burn. When the wheel hath turned to Yule, Light the log and let pan rule.

(This refers to the cycle of the year. Beltane, the spring Sabbat and Yule the winter one, sit at the opposite ends of the wheel of the year)

Heed ye flower, bush and tree, and by the Lady Blessed Be!

(Nurture and respect nature and you will be blessed)

Where the rippling waters flow, Cast a stone and truth you’ll know.

(Actions spread, like the ripples caused by a stone cast on the water, affecting and everything around)

With a fool no seasons spend, nor be counted as his friend.

(Others associate you with the company you keep. If you mix with fools, that’s how you’ll be regarded)

Merry meet and merry part, Bright the cheeks and warm the heart.

(The company of friends is the best company there is)

Mind the threefold law you should, Three times bad and three times good.

(Always remember that whatever you do, good or bad, comes back to you three times)

When misfortunes is enow, Wear the blue star on your brow

(When trouble beckons, visualize a blue pentagram on your forehead for protection)

 True in love ever be, Unless thy love is false to thee.

(Always be loyal in love, but if you are let down, move on)

Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill, 'And it Harm none, do what ye will’.

(Feel free to do whatever takes your fancy, as long as in doing so, no one is harmed) ”

This just one version of the Rede and one interpretation of it but i thought it was a good example of one explanation.