QUERYING PART 1: SUBMISSIONS PACKET
Woohoo, you've done it! You've written the words. You've edited the structure. The manuscript is damn near perfect. And now you want to find the perfect agent to represent it. Before you even look up the first place to query, the first step is putting together your submissions packet.
THE QUERY LETTER (DUN DUN DUUUUH)
Ah, the dreaded query letter. Aside from the synopsis, there are few things that writers dread more. Mainly because so much worth is attributed to so few words. There are some agents who don’t even read a single word of your manuscript, but only focus on your query letter. So how to write the blasted thing to get your dream agent’s attention? Here are a few pieces of advice – with examples! – to help you out.
From formatting to content, this is what you should do to make your query stand out above the rest.
"How to Format a Query Letter" (for email)
“Queries—An Inside Scoop (Lisa Shearin’s Query)”
“Example of a Good Query Letter III”
There are a lot of articles out there about what NOT to do. Here are a few examples given by different editors and agents about why they say no.
“Evil Editor: Why you don’t get published.” – A breakdown of query letter mistakes in a humorous and, hey, evil way. It’s in the page’s title, at least.
“SlushPileHell: One Grumpy Literary Agent and a Sea of Query Fails”
“Query Letters That DON’T Work, Not Even a Little Bit”
QUERY DOS AND DON’TS
Here are a few lists that include both dos and don’ts.
“Do’s and Don’ts of Query letters (Report #111 from Bobbie Christmas)”
“23 Literary Agent Query Letters That Worked”
“How to Write a Darn Good Query Letter”
“How to Write a Query Letter the Right Way”
“The Query Letter: 10 Dos and Don’ts”
“Ask the Editor: DOs and DON’Ts for query letters”
“DOS and DON’TS: How to Write the Perfect Query Letter”
“The 10 Dos and Don’ts of Writing a Query Letter”
The good news about the synopsis is that not all agents require one… at first. But if you get past the first round – if an agent reads your query letter and asks for either a partial or full manuscript to read – then they’ll probably also ask you for a synopsis. Here are the different types of synopses, step-by-step instructions how to write them, and what to include (and NOT include) in order to capture an agent’s attention.
“6 Steps for Writing a Book Synopsis”
“Learn How to Write a Synopsis Like a Pro”
“How to Write a Novel Synopsis”
“How to Write a 1-Page Synopsis”
“Writing a Synopsis”
“How to Write a Synopsis of Your Novel”
“How to Find a (Real!) Literary Agent”
Although perhaps the part of the submissions package which is given the least amount of weight by an agent, your biography is still a vital element of your repertoire. This is how you sell yourself, in addition to your work. It indicates to an agent that you can make your accomplishments look pretty, even if you don’t have a lot of them. Here are a few essentials of how to write your bio, how to make a lack of writing credits look legit, and what information to include (and not include) to create a professional appearance.
“The Professional Bio Template That Makes Everyone Sound Accomplished”
“6 of the Best Professional Bio Examples We’ve Ever Seen”
“How to Write a Short Bio About Yourself”
"Write a Terrific Author Bio"
“Writing An Author Bio That Will Knock The Editor’s Socks Off!”
“Ten tips for writing an author bio”
“What to Include in the Author Bio for Your Book”
“How to Write an Author Bio When You Don’t Feel Like an Author… Yet”
You almost forgot the most important part – the manuscript itself! How do you format it? What do you do when the submissions guidelines ask for only one chapter or ten pages? How do you format those? Look no further – check out these websites.
“What Are the Guidelines for Formatting a Manuscript?”
“How to Format a Novel Manuscript”
“Proper Manuscript Format: Novel Format”
“Proper Manuscript Format for a Novel”
“Format Your Novel for Submission”
Manuscript format: get your novel ready for submission”
“Formatting 101: how to format your novel for submission”
“How to Format a Manuscript”