We know that many of you are writers with lots of experience.
Now you feel your novel is ready to start making the rounds at publishing houses. Reputable agents have the access to acquiring editors that the rest of us lack. How to get an agent?
A directory of AAR agents and the types of manuscripts they represent can be found at http: If the agent has submission guidelines, follow them to the letter. You want to impress the agent with not only your creative work, but also with your professional demeanor.
A standard query letter is one page never more than two in which you very briefly introduce yourself, succinctly describe your work in one or two paragraphs, and ask the agent if he or she would like to see your manuscript. Remember, an agent receives hundreds of query letters each month.
You want yours to be professional and stand out from the crowd. Some common mistakes writers make: The letter makes promises you cannot keep, e. The letter contains spelling and grammatical errors. The letter is all about you, not your book. The letter includes irrelevant facts, i.
The letter reflects your bitterness about how hard it is to get published. Include any publishing history. Briefly list the names of journals, magazines, newspapers, or publishing houses that have published your work.
List any writing competitions or awards you have won. Limit your novel description to four to ten sentences and just say enough to provoke the agent's attention and curiosity and make him or her want to read more.
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|Questions from Whitney||Any bits of wisdom imparted to the masses is wonderful.|
|University Center for Writing-based Learning||Try not to focus on backstory—during a pitch, backstory almost works like quicksand. You get stuck explaining why he or she ended up where they are, rather than where they are going, which works against your purposes.|
|Writing a Synopsis & Query Letter||Consolation if there is any:|
|Share a Post||It doesn't matter if you are submitting to an agent, a big New York publishing house, or a small press, you have to have a synopsis and a query letter to go with that manuscript. In fact, many of the big houses, and even some agents, will only accept a query and or a synopsis.|
Think about the short descriptions on the inside flaps of hardcover editions that tease your interest as a potential reader and help you decide if the story is intriguing enough to buy the book. Knowing of your interest in your genre here I am submitting the first chapter of my novel, Title, for your consideration.
A single-sentence opening paragraph lets the agent know you have done your homework and that you can be succinct.
Two paragraphs, if you must. More on this later. MFA degree or mention creative writing classes you have taken or writing groups you participate in to demonstrate that you are serious about honing your craft.
Thank you for your consideration of Title. Pretty straight forward, except for the one-paragraph synopsis. This is the copy that appeared on the hardcover, and was taken directly from my query letter:Confession: I enjoy writing query letters.
I know that most writers loathe them, but I always thought the query letter was kind of a fun challenge. After lunch it was time for second workshop on query writing. About ten minutes into the query writing presentation I hit an iceberg.
Here is the basic format for a one-page query letter for fiction or nonfiction or essence of your book 2. What is the article/book about: Highlight key points of the article or include a short synopsis of. Query Letters & Other Writer Aids Writing Query Letters Once the novel is finished (that’s utterly, completely polished, proofed, line-edited, and, oh yeah, perfect), most writers seek an agent.
“The most effective query letters get into the specifics from the very first line,” say the freelance writing experts in Writer’s Market.. “It’s important to remember that the query letter is a call to action, not a listing of features and benefits.”.
One of the easiest ways to learn what makes a good, standard query letter is simply to see an example of one that does its job well. If you write fiction or narrative nonfiction, a query letter is your first (and often, your only) chance to get an agent interested in reading (and, with hope, signing) your work.
Writing the Perfect Query Letter Attached is a copy of the synopsis for "Masterpiece" The manuscript can be made available to you at your request and I can be contacted at the above listings. I look forward to your response at your earliest convenience. The key to writing an effective query letter is professionalism.