Friday, January 9, 2015

And They're Off... Query Letters to Agents

It took a bit longer than I expected to prepare query letters as several agencies had different submission requirements. When you're ready to send out author query letters, take the time to closely read their submission guidelines. For example, most asked for a 5 page sample, but one asked for a 4 page sample, and another a 10 page sample. Some also asked for a synopsis of the novel and even that request had a variety of lengths (from 3-5 paragraphs to 1-2 pages). Cutting and pasting your novel sample is relatively simple compared to the synopsis.

The synopsis itself is an art form. Hopefully you have the basic idea of your novel distilled down to a single sentence. When I started to write my synopsis, I had about 1,200 words. Then I keep chipping away at it until it was down to 900 words. So with this first round of agent queries, I ended up having to continue distilling that down to just over 250 words. It's a great exercise to sharpen the focus of your novel and see what key story items and themes make the cut.

With my first round of author queries, I sent off eight of them to different agencies whose response time varied from 8-10 days to 12 weeks. I expect that there's probably a significant queue already in their inboxes and that I'll just have to be patient and wait. All that work and momentum around starting to feel like a real writer and now I have to wait. I guess that's part of being a real writer.

Of course, I won't be sitting around and waiting. I'll be polishing the handful of little items remaining for my manuscript. I'll also be working on the synopsis of the next two novels. More than enough to keep me busy!

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