As many of you may have noticed, I’ve been working on my query lately. My concept was that I would:

A) write up a dandy little letter telling a prospective agent how great my book is and

B) send it to some agents.

That was it. Or so I thought. Then, as is I’m sure is the downfall of many writers, I decided to do a little research. You remember research – that great gaping black hole of random factoids, some of it useful, that you fall into when searching for one finite fact. It happens every time. I start out looking for the natural coloration of the male rock python and end up discovering the life and times of Snake Man, Lord of Reptiles, plus a host of even less useful information. Sadly, such was not my fate this time.

Instead I found an avalanche of pertinent, NECESSARY, information. Drat! Now I have to actually put all of that stuff to good use, or suffer the emotional equivalent of a tsunami, swamping me with the absolute certainty that I am now forever barred from getting what I want/need because of a my lack of appropriate preparation.  And we can’t have that, now can we?

I discovered that many agents want something more than a query. They want…A Synopsis. Be advised; my query took me two nerve tattering weeks to develop into anything remotely useable, I’m STILL not sold on its viability, AND it’s only 250 words long. Now ponder the synopsis, which is supposed to be anywhere from two to five PAGES long, and you discern my dilemma. It will probably take longer to write and make acceptable than the book did. (You’ll notice I did not use the term, “perfect.” I know better; there is no such thing.)

My research, before it overwhelmed and sent me into a word coma from which I’ve yet to awaken, did turn up a few tips:

1)      Look at the agent’s guidelines. Some of them want the long version, others a short one. Some want attachments, others want the whole thing in the body of the email. A few only accept snail mail. As always when dealing with people who may hold the key to your literary future, give them what they want. (Within reason. There’s no need to show your panties, or get them in a twist.)

2)      Use present tense and include the WHOLE thing. Don’t leave off the ending. They won’t be amused. Worse yet, they may think you can’t, ummm, finish.

3)       Do everything you can to make it as interesting as the book. No, I don’t know how you do this. I’m still trying to figure it out.  Still, how hard can it be? Just scrunch a 105,000 word novel down into two or three pages. No problem. Right?

That’s it. That’s all I got. What’s your best query submitting and/or synopsis writing advice?


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