1. MumblingSage
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    MumblingSage Contributing Member

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    My heart in on the shores of Gitchee-Gume, my body

    Any advice for a friend?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by MumblingSage, May 3, 2008.

    One of my friends has finally finished the novel he's decided to publish. While I help him beta-read it into a higher state, I'm also trying to help him get the thing published--mostly because I'm an egotistical little brat who doesn't want her hard work betaing to go to waste :p.

    So does anybody have any advice to a guy with a first fantasy novel (108,000 words, magic-tech setting, anthropomorphic dragons but not furry, and if you say it is I'll be required to do unpleasant things to you) who's trying to find an agent?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I've moved the three very helpful responses over to the stickied Great Resource thread.

    Thanks Banzai, Terry, and Maia.
     
  3. MumblingSage
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    MumblingSage Contributing Member

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    Sounds fair. Heck, I'll just point the guy to this site. :D

    Thanks, all.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    always johnny on the spot and spot on the job, cog!... justifies that 'super' part of your label, sweetieheart... m
     
  5. Snap
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    Well, the first step would be to decide if your friend wants an agent or not. I would highly recommend it, as opposed to just going for publishers. For one, an agent knows what they're doing, and it's easier to get an agent than it is a publisher. In fact, a lot of times, publishers won't even look at unrepresented work. And sometimes they'll allow an agent special privileges they won't allow writers, such as sending the whole manuscript, as opposed to just the first fifty pages the would accept from a writer.

    If an agent is what you want, your friend is going to need a query letter, and, more likely than not, a synopsis. There are VERY specific rules on both of these, especially as far as formatting goes. Here are some links to help with this:

    http://www.spacejock.com.au/QueryLetter.html
    http://www.essortment.com/all/synopsiswriteb_rqmx.htm
    www.agentquery.com

    The last one simply helps to find agents, and provides their requirements for submission. Each agent will have different requirements. The formatting for the synopsis is a bit complicated. It should be 12 pt font (no more, no less), and double spaced, with the pages numbered in the upper right hand corner. It should also be written in PRESENT tense (Lucy finds Jerry at school and...), and when you first mention a main character's name, it should be in caps, after that, you can use lowercase for it. In addition, in parentheses after the main character's name is mentioned, you should put (POV), if the story is from their point of view. Some publishers will want the synopsis longer, others will want it shorter, so your friend might need to tweak it, depending on the publisher you're sending it to.

    And remember, a good agent will NEVER ask you for money up front. Their cut comes when a deal is made with the publisher. So an agent that asks for money is no good.

    If you have decided to go straight to the publisher, these steps are similar, except that you'll need to know the publisher's requirements, rather than the agent's. And keep in mind that this prospect might take more time and be much more laborous.

    I hope I helped! If you have any more questions, you can always PM me, if you'd like. :)

    --Snap
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    not so!... there is no specific, mandated format for either a query letter or a synopsis... but there are myriad suggestions for what works best, offered by various sources--not all of them as knowledgeable as they'd like you to think they are...

    and synopses should NOT be double-spaced... only the ms itself must be... all else goes in times new roman [or similar serifed font] 12pt, and should be single-spaced... names do not have to be in all-caps, though some writers do that... and 'pov' does not have to be mentioned, much less handled as strictly as noted above...

    the best thing to do is always check each agent's/publisher's guidelines and structure your letter and other material according to that, and not what anyone else tells you...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  7. Mr Sci Fi
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    Mr Sci Fi Senior Member

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    If an agent asks for money, RUN. Just throwing that out there.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    amen to that, mr s-f!... as for the excerpt above, a REAL agent will never ask for a penny up front... anyone who asks for money up front is not only 'no good' but is NOT an 'agent'-- just a scam artist...
     
  9. MumblingSage
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    MumblingSage Contributing Member

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    Thanks, thanks, and double-thanks.

    Anybody got more specific advice? For example, I'm trying to help him write a query letter, but his synopsis reads so...amateurish. He winds up using the word 'lest' at one point. I'm trying to talk him out of that. But is are there any really good tips for making a query letter that starts you off on the right feet?
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    why don't you have your friend drop me an email?... i can send him some good tips on writing effective queries and, if he wants, would be glad to help him rework that letter into one that has a better chance of being read past the first paragraph [ ;-) ]...

    hugs, m
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     

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