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Writing a covering letter is a necessary step before submitting an unsolicited manuscript to an academic journal. In cases where the author has not queried the editor of the target journal prior to submission, the covering letter can - and should - be drafted to serve three functions. This article demonstrates how a covering letter can (1) establish the author's credibility, (2) help ensure that the manuscript is seriously considered for publication, and (3) initiate a positive rapport with the editor and editorial staff of the journal. In addition, this article includes sample texts from 'successful' covering letters: covering letters that, ultimately, result in having the accompanying manuscript accepted for publication.