So after having written down the agents that I want to send to I decided that today I would get everything in order. Meaning writing a query letter, synopsis, outline, and whatever else that the agents want to be sent to them. A few even ask for a propossal package??!!??
I am totaly confused, frustrated, and it's beating me way down today. I gave up on the query letter even though I have a friend's letter to help me but still can't think of a damn thing to pu in it. So I moved onto the synopsis and again...BLANK!
oh does anyone know what the agent is asking for in an outline or proposal package? I have no idea...and to me outlines are so middle school!
My thought is they want to be able to look at your package and see something that will grab their attention, let them get a good idea of what you are offering and interest them enough to take the time to dig deeper. My thought is that this is our one minute in front of the decision maker and we need to spoon feed them why they need to look at us and more importantly how they stand to make money by representing out product. Let me know how it works out please.
Well I've never been published, but there was some good advice I got from J. A. Konrath, a mystery author. He said to treat the outline/synopsis more like a business proposal rather than something to get your reader interested in the story. The agent/publisher wants to market your product so you have lay everything out for them right at the beginning (including spoiling everything you worked so hard to make mysterious in your book.) He goes on a lot about the publishing process in his online book (it's a free pdf). So I strongly recommend reading the part about publishing. The website is http://www.jakonrath.com/index.htm and just click on "for writers" on the left hand side.
A proposal package is more or less like a CV.
They're asking you to tell them, what have you done before. What are your goals. What kind of novel, stories, essays, do you write.
What's your proposal, what you intend to do.
What are your next books about, etc. What are you proposing them.
I just posted a rather lengthy comment, but wanted to add this:
You cannot prepare all of the documents you mentioned (query, synopsis, outline, etc.) in ONE day. Something about your first question made me think that was your intention. It is too much work for a day.
i've already sent mine in. all they want is for you to pretend you're selling your work to them. for instance:
Have you ever wondered why you never see a baby pigeon? my story "the babies are in the nest" will answer your question.
this story is for ages 6-9 and will be great in educating anyone curious about baby pigeons. the main character is named pettie and he's one cool pigeon even if i say so myself.
i have graduated from........
i have enclosed the manuscript and a sase. thank you for your time.
that story i have not written. i just used what popped into my head to give you an idea of a basic query letter. good luck hope this helps.
by the way you can get books from the writer's bookstore that better explain all of this mummo-jumbo. those books have helped me.
The agent wants to know how they can sell you as a writer. That's how they make their money so they ask for information to help them do this. If you can sell yourself convincingly it makes their job much easier, thus making you an easier writer to work with.
Don't become overburdened with the format. As a writer you've got two jobs, writing something good, and writing something else to sell it. You could look at the new MTV series, "Pimp My Prose" for help, but unfortunately it only exists in my imagination.
What agents are looking for depends on what you are writing. Fiction is usually a query with the first 10 pages of the manuscript. Nonfiction requires a synopsis.
I recommend you check each agent you wish to submit to for guidelines. Each agent is different. There are several good query resources online. Check out The Public Query Slushpile and other similar blogs.
Several agents blog daily with loads of really good info. Check out BookEnds, Janet Reid, Editorial Anonymous, Editorial Ass, Pub Rants, and Nathan Bransford. They have links on their blogs for additional info on publishing.
I think they are looking for a proposal from you about the book you propose to write (ie: are ABOUT to write, not have written already).
Try writing something totally off the wall and cheeky - tell them why they would be crazy to pass on you because...
If you write it with that in mind, to be as cheeky as possible, it will help blast you past the middle school thing, and then you can tone it down after if you really need to. Tell them how great and amazing and awesome you are, and how great and amazing and awesome the book is.
If it helps, pretend you are writing it for someone else, and try it in the third person. I hate writing about myself - always sounds like a C.V. unless I get really cheeky.
Ask a friend to write it for you, maybe? You can always rework it, ya know.
Hope this helps
Hi honey I actually have no idea what you're talking about. I just stopped by to say hello and give you big hugs <<HUGS>>>
I think it's a good idea to read writers' magazines and to attend general writers' conferences or those on your specific topic: romance, mystery, etc. The editors give talks there on what they're currently buying and how they want it presented.You can actually talk to them and if you get them interested in your work they'll ask you to send them a proposal or whatever. You should really have a finished book before you try to pitch it. Writers Market is a book every writer should have for the latest information.
thanks for the help guys.
and M.T. I will definitely be checking out the website you posted.
frustration totally kills the writing vibe
OTG! I was just told by a writer's friend that the outline and proposal isn't for fiction but for nonfiction. That is definitely one less stresser on me. Now just to get the damn query letter and synopsis written.
Writers Market addresses all these issues from query letter and proposal to potential publishers and publishing options. Either check it out at the library or hit Barnes & Nobles with a coffee and give it a look. They also are online and have a subscription fee, but you can gain access to the site by buying the annual edition.
Good luck to you, Holly
thanks Holly I was actually thinking about checking out how mych Writer's Market is. Thanks for reminding me! I had a total brain fart about that again
and hmm...coffee and bookstore = BAD for me just ask my husband LMAO but I will definitely check it out. I can't think!
This may not be much help, but the Wall Street Journal recently did a piece on publishing today. According to them, most agents and publishers are looking for a ready made fan base with a new writer. They recommended, among other things, including the comments of strangers who have read your work. Hubpages certainly generates a lot of comments.
I tried to find a link to the story, but couldn't.
By the way, according to the WSJ, the girl who wrote Twilight got it published by accident. A slush reader was supposed to automatically dump anything longer than 40,000 words. She put the 100,000+ word manuscript in the wrong pile. And they call it publishing! Those old expatriot writers who used to sit around in outdoor cafes and talk about their work; Fitzgerald, Hemmingway, etc, would be rolling over in their graves if they knew what publishing has become.
Agents and publishers are only interested in completed manuscripts (unless you're famous, in which case you're already viewed as a marketable commodity.)
An outline is a blow-by-blow plot description, such as:
Title (word count)
Chapter One: Little Red Riding Hood (LRRH) happily tries on the new red cloak made for her birthday by her mother.
Chapter Two: LRRH offers to carry her grandmother's lunch to her, entailing a long walk through the dark and dangerous forest.
Chapter Three: Description of said forest and LRRH's walk through it.
Chapter Four: LRRH arrives as Grandma's cottage to find...
And so on - you get the general idea, I'm sure!
A synopsis is an abrieviated version of the whole book, and reads more like the blurb on a book cover.
A query letter is your way of very birefly introducing yourself and your work. The agent will want to know who is likely to read your book (target audience), its genre and word-count. Brief details of your previous published work, your website, writing courses and competitions won, etc., should also be included.
A proposal package is all three of these together.
I hope that helps to clarify things for you.
Hey... you'll get through it and get it done, If the task seems frustrating, take a deep breath and break away from it for a while, this gives you a chance to air out your mind so that this task (query letter) is an enjoyable thing to write not a frustrating nightmare. Everything about writing is THINKING, and as a writer I know that THINKING is just a time process. I've been writing for over ten years and finally got published. I've tried selling screenplays and haven't yet. However, when I wrote my query letter, it took me literally WEEKS of thinking about what to say. Every writer is different. I also targeted publishers who dealt with the kind of material that I write. Another little bit of food for thought, RELAX, this should be an enjoyable endeavor for you, WRITING IS A DEEP LOVE FROM WITHIN! However long it takes to write either your novel, query letter or any other document, DON'T PUT A TIME FRAME ON IT (unless you have a deadline), you'll get it done and you won't have to deal with so much pressure. I mention this from first hand experience because I wasn't ready to meet a deadline and found myself eating, drinking and sleeping my writing, that's pressure! You seem to be very determined and that's fantastic! And should you write and encounter writer's block, back away and do other writing until the writer's block goes away. I wish you the best of luck!
I am a published author, and I appreciate your frustration.
Someone mentioned Writer's Market. I use it almost daily. It is totally worth the price, if you are serious about the industry. The online version is "free" when you purchase the actual book. That is what I always do.
The book (and the site) have sample queries, both good and bad, with a discussion of each. There are also sample proposals, synopsis, etc.
The best explanation of a good synopsis that I've ever found was on an agent's blog or website. I can't remember which. If I can locate it, I'll come back and supply the link.
For FREE information, I highly recommend Writer's Digest, online. http://www.writersdigest.com/GeneralMenu/ It has a fantastic search feature where you can put in your term ("writing fiction queries" or "fiction synopsis") and it will give you a list of relevant articles. There is also a blog (access it via the main site) which is fantastic. I highly recommend you subscribe to it. Again, this is all free.
For starters, read this article on the basics of a good query: http://www.writersdigest.com/article/ba … aph-query/ It goes into detail (including a sample "good" letter) about what is needed in a good query, starting with "the hook," then the author bio, and finally the conclusion.
If an agent accepts your query and asks for more, you'll end up needing to submit an outline. An outline does NOT have to be a number-letter-formatted document, like we learned in school. It can be more of a narrative.
Above all else, FINISH your manuscript and have it read by at least 3 NON BIASED people before you begin the submission process. NEVER say, "My mother thinks this would be a best seller..." or something similar. Non-biased means someone who does not love you (but can be fond of you)
Write me directly if you need additional help. Good luck!
Writer's Market (in the front of the book), Stephen King's "On Writing" and "The Complete Writer's Kit", by Edelstein, available at Barnes & Noble, all have very good stuff to help you through these tasks successfully.
Remember, any publisher who accepts unsolicited manuscript has to wade through miles of trash to find the nugget of gold. These things, the query letter and the synopsis and the outline, are all tools to streamline that process.
It's how you make your first impression on your potential publisher, and first impressions are VERY important. Give yourself as much time as you need to do this well, absolutely the best you can.
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