fireflyz

Queries, Synopses, and Submitting, Oh my!

9 posts in this topic

Hi all,

I thought it might be a good idea to have a place where people could pose their questions concerning submitting queries, etc. to agents and editors. There are a lot of good resources on the web so we can definitely post links as well, but sometimes it's nice to actually talk to someone as opposed to reading an article or blog. If anyone is interested please feel free to post some questions and we'll see what kind of feedback develops. Also, if you've submitted in the past or are currently submitting, don't be shy about sharing your experiences!

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Just to give you guys an update of where I'm at, my current manuscript is being considered by a few agents. One agent said they'd like to see some revisions made (and listed them) because they said while they really loved the characters, they felt the plot needed to be sped up. They said if I made revisions they would love to see it again. I'm pretty excited about that one because this agent reps one of the authors who has been on WE.

So this weekend I'm working on revisions and writing a good synopsis. I hate synopsis writing with a passion. My first round of submissiions purposefully excluded any agents who require them, haha. But, there are still a lot of good agents that do require them and for my second round of submissions I need a synopsis. So this weekend will be revising and writing. I'm hopeful that I can get my manuscript back to the agent this coming week, but revision is a tricky beast. We shall see.

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The format I use for query letters looks something like this:

Intro paragraph:

The first lines I use to connect with the agent, let them know why I'm interested in them. Usually this means I've met them, met an author repped by them, read a blog or interview, etc. The next line I use to let them know what my novel's target audience is and it's genre. Finally, I let them know if other agents are looking at my manuscript.

Next paragraph:

This is the "jacket cover" overview of my novel. It will include the MC, the setting/plot, and main conflict/problem.

Next paragraph:

This is a small paragraph where I reiterate what my novel's genre and word count is as well as the themes/questions faced by my MC.

Bio paragraph:

This is a short bio linked with my twitter account.

If anyone would like to see a copy of one of my queries I can c&p one. I've found that there is usually a 3:1 rejection ratio on queries. This means that for every three rejections you will get one request for more if done properly. The thing is that submitting is about 3/4 skill and 1/4 luck. If the agent is busy, has already requested pages that day, etc., they are more likely to reject than if that agent just got back from vacation, is all caught up on their work, and your submission is one of the first they read for that day. We can't control luck, but we can put ourselves in the best possible position to capitalize on it.

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Thanks for this--this is a great idea. I've actually been toying with the idea of starting some sort of query letter workshop but I've thus far had too much on my plate to really find out if anyone would be interested.

When I get all of the information from TWG moved over link to this in one of the pinned threads (I think we had an "other resources" seciton in one of them; if not, create one). I'll link the conventions thread in that one as well.

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Some people find queries a useful exercise even before the submission stage--I've even heard of people using query letters as outlines (exercise: write an enticing query letter, THEN write the novel that the query describes).

Anyway, it's never too soon to start looking at this stuff--as long as it doesn't keep you from actually writing. :)

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I've never heard of that before, but that's a pretty good idea. I usually write the query letter after I've finished revising. I have been thinking of changing things up though and writing the rough draft of the query after the book is finished, but before revising. The query forces the writer to summarize the key conflicts, developments, and themes of the book. I have a feeling that this might help in the revising process. It will probably be a few months before I start writing another book (after I've made every agent in the US sick of hearing from my current submission, haha) but the next book I write I think I might try this approach.

I don't think it's ever too early to practice writing a query letter, especially if you haven't done so in the past. It's one of those skills that seems daunting at first, but once you get it down, it's not that bad.

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I was struggling with my synopsis until I read a great suggestion from an author. He said to let one of your beta readers write the synopsis for you. You might not use all or even any of it but seeing their opinion on the central themes of your work can be illuminating.

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He said to let one of your beta readers write the synopsis for you. You might not use all or even any of it but seeing their opinion on the central themes of your work can be illuminating.

I got to try that one!

Looks like dumping the boring work on some other people is definitely a way to go.

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