A transmittal letter is a type of cover letter that accompanies a larger document. The transmittal letter is intended to explain the larger document and inform the recipient of the context, purpose or intent for the larger document. The letter also gives the sender a record of having sent the larger document.
Some of the main types of documents that are sent with a letter of transmission are:
• Proposals, quotations or bids
• Manuscripts for publication
• Formal reports of analytical studies
• Shipments of merchandise
Most transmittal letters are brief, but if the sender wants to include a summary of key elements of a proposal, or other things that provide the recipient with information, the letter can be a bit longer. The reason for sending the letter should be stated in the first sentence along with the type of document such as a contract, proposal, manuscript or research paper.
The second paragraph may contain information about the document that is not contained in the document itself. If there are any deadlines for signing or proposal admissions, these can be mentioned here. If the sender spoke to the recipient about the document earlier, this can also be mentioned here.
If the letter is accompanying a manuscript to a publisher, the sender can include some compelling facts or statements that grab the publisher’s attention and make him or her want to learn more. If the sender has any other publications or awards for writing, these can be mentioned here.
The last sentence of the letter should establish good will by thanking the recipient and expressing appreciation for his or her time. The sender may also express the wish to remain in contact with the recipient and be considered for engagements in the future.
Transmittal letters may contain sensitive information such as a password to an online document. The sender may also include important or sensitive information in the larger document that the sender wants to highlight.
Transmittal letters that accompany scientific documents or proposals are usually written in the passive voice and use formal language and format. However, they should not contain any technical information.
There are several ways the sender can introduce his or her document. Some of the most common are:
• To show how the document meets the goals or requirements of the receiver
• To give credit to people involved with preparing the document who aren’t mentioned in it
• To request an action on the part of the recipient such as a signature on a contract or edits on a document with a deadline for that action
Since transmittal letters accompany a wide range of documents, there is no one-size-fits-all. However, most transmittal letters:
• Establish goodwill
• Present the information clearly and in an easy-to-read format
• Are only one page
• Include important deadlines or other dates
• Explain the content of the accompanying document or package
• Answer any questions that may arise
• Be promotional for the product, contract, manuscript or other document
• Clarify the desires or instructions of the sender
Here is a sample transmission letter to a publisher that accompanies a children’s book for publication. For best results, the letter should be addressed to the person who will receive it. If the sender doesn’t know the person’s name, he or she can call the company to find out.
If it isn’t possible to get a name, the sender can address the letter to Dear Sir or Dear Madam. A Transmission letter should always accompany the document and not be sent in advance or sent after the document has been sent. However, the letter should not be attached to the document, it should be separate.
Sample Transmission Letter
City, State, Zip Code
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Receiver’s Name:
Please find enclosed my 200 page manuscript entitled Good News Stories, that I would like you to consider for publication. It is a compilation of 25 true stories from the past 50 years in which people facing harsh or critical circumstances come to a positive conclusion. I have written the stories for readers from nine to 15 years of age, but even adults have enjoyed reading them.
The manuscript is intended to give examples of how adversity has and can be overcome to inspire and give confidence to children. I have also included my personal story, anonymously, and the way I improved my life. It was this experience that inspired me to write the book in the first place.
I believe these stories will be useful and entertaining for children and respectfully request that you consider publishing them. If you have any questions, I can be reached at Phone Number or at Email Address.
Thank you for considering my manuscript. I look forward to hearing from you.
Signature of Sender
Printed Name of Sender