Agents are always looking for new authors. That’s how they stay in business. Still, you need to make the first move. Editors get swamped by wanna be authors on the daily. Having a recommendation from someone they know or going through an agent increases your chances of avoiding the slush pile.
click deals > set category > browse > scan info for agent names
click dealmakers> agents > set category
search for “acknowledgements” and names in your genre
- Buy a copy of this year’s Writer’s Market
- Check out Writer’s Digest yearly ‘Guide to literary agents’
- Or Lori Perkin’s ‘The Insider Guide to Getting an Agent’
Send the package
Cover letter (Query Letter Template)
Introduces you and your concept and should make them want to read the synopsis. Send a cover letter that is short and to the point. If you’ve been published before, or won competitions, do mention those. Use double spaced, times roman (12) or ariel (12) standard formats. Send a cover letter that is short and to the point. If you’ve been published before, or won competitions, do mention those. List your word count at the end. They will skip any work that didn’t stick to the word-count. Your work might be genius, but it will not be read unless you stuck to the count!
Wait a week after sending the package. No reply? Select a new recipient and query them and so forth. Find at least 50 agents or editors appropriate for your type of novel.
Tip! Agents and editors often read the first three paragraphs, then the final three paragraph. If they liked what they read, they’ll bother with reading the middle. Write your synopsis hooks accordingly!
500-600 Words – Complete (broad) story from beginning (skip status quo) to end (include surprises and twists) in prose in present tense (regardless of how the novel is written).
- Present the names and descriptions of all major characters. Give those major characters, the setting and the main conflict within the first 300 words.
- Summarize all major events including plot twists. Leave out subplots.
- Include only essential dialogue.
- Skip unnecessary detail/description or explanation of story world/characters.
Think of it like a short story version. Summarize every chapter in one sentence to map out the general outline. Strictly speaking, you’re allowed up to five pages for a synopsis but it is recommended to stick to one (two, if you must).
Sometimes the synopsis leads to a request for sample chapters before it leads to a full manuscript. Sometimes an agent or editor skips the whole synopsis and asks directly for the first three chapters instead.
The first chapter shows how well you can hook a reader. The second and third chapter shows how well you can develop a story in an interesting way. It also shows if you can handle pacing. These three chapters usually cover about 50 to 60 pages. If you haven’t been asked to provide specific chapters, then send in the amount of chapters that roughly covers that amount of pages.
- All material should be unbound. (Incl. sample chapters and even the full manuscript.)
- Fully Typed. Printed plain format in black ink on white 20 lb. paper (not erasable bond paper).
- Header on each page with name, title of novel (in caps) and page number (except title page).
- One-inch margins all around. Indent 5 spaces for each new paragraph (about 0.55). Double spaced.
- Start each new chapter on its own page, 1/3 of the way down the page. Chapter number and title in all caps separated by two hyphens: CHAPTER 1 – TITLE Begin chapter body four to six lines below the chapter title.
- Between 60 and 75 character per line for reading comfort. Roughly 250 words per page (give or take 5%)
A Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope
Used by the recipient to return your manuscript. Don’t kid yourself, not including the envelope doesn’t change the odds of anyone buying your story. Getting your manuscript back is better than not hearing anything, ever. Plus, you can recycle the manuscript – send it to the next guy.
Give an editor or agent about 2 to 3 months exclusive reading time. Once you received a rejection or the three months are up -> send it to the next one.