You’ve worked and polished and now your bright and shiny manuscript is ready for the world. But are you truly ready to submit it to an agent or publisher? The submitting process requires just a bit more than that shiny new manuscript. I have compiled a list of 5 essentials you’ll need before you begin the querying process:
1. A rockin’ query letter- Similar to a business letter, the query letter needs to be no more than a page long and include the following information: a personalized greeting, a brief summary of your story, why you are the person to write this story and your qualifications. There are several sites that show how to write an excellent query letter. I like Nathan Bransford’s post on the subject.
2. A brief summary of the story- This can be used in the above mentioned query letter or in some cases a literary agency will have a form to fill out that asks for this all important element. It’s better to be prepared than to find your self in the middle of the process and realize that you need one. Think about the information you see on a book flap or the back of the book and you have a good starting off point for your brief synopsis.
3. A 1-2 page summary of your story- This differs from number 2 above by it’s length and by the information included. This synopsis should include all relevant parts of the story including the ending. The purpose of this synopsis is not to intrigue the reader, but rather let them know you know how to plot a story. Pub(lishing) Crawl has a great post on how to create your manuscript summary.
4. A log line- This is a brief 1 or 2 sentence summary that gives us the essence of the book. The Writers Store has a great post about log line with examples.
5. Your big girl/boy panties- Submitting requires you to put yourself on the line. Not everyone is going to like your work and if you believe in your work, you are going to have to keep submitting. It only takes one agent and one publisher to like your work. The internet is full of stories about authors who received a large number of rejections before finally getting accepted. Here is a post about 30 famous authors whose works were rejected (repeatedly, and sometimes rudely) by publishers.
This list is intended to help your query process go smoother. Please keep in mind that every agent has their own list of items they will request. The above list is not complete, but meant to help you get a jump on the most commonly asked for items.
Good Luck and Happy Submitting,
Writing on the Sidewalk