1. cinnim0ngirl
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    cinnim0ngirl Member

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    I need help please (query letter)

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by cinnim0ngirl, Sep 1, 2009.

    Hello,
    I have finished my first novel and decided on an agent I would like to submit it to. Her guidelines are (Please send us a query letter of no more than two pages, which includes your credentials, an explanation of what makes your book unique and special, and a synopsis.) I have no credentials, nothing. I failed English, didn't go to college. The fact that I even finished my book is amazing to me. I am terrified to write this letter because I am afraid my lack of knowledge and experience will be why I am rejected.

    How do you write a good letter like that. Should I just be honest and say I have no credentials at all and just focus mostly on the synopsis? I don't want to embellish because it feels like lying. I really really want this one agent to accept me as a client. I know I shouldn't limit myself to just one and be grateful if anyone wants to represent me, but I want to start with her. I don't know how to write a synopsis. I have looked and it seems like every bit of advice conflicts with the prior one. Do this, don't do that... I am stressing out.

    One said hook them, make them ask for the book. Another said absolutely not. Never leave them guessing tell them what happens. I feel like I have so much working against me before I have even started. I don't want my own ignorance to be my downfall. I want to be successful at writing, I just feel like I have no clue what I am doing. Any help at all would be wonderful. I thought the hard part would be writing the stupid novel lol I put off the synopsis because I thought how hard can it be? Boy did I have no clue.

    :eek:
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Credentials for a novel are previously published novels in the sane genre. If you have no previously published works, leave out credentials. Gon't say you have none, just don't bring it up in the query letter at all, and focus on the other elements.
     
  3. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cogito is correct. If you have no relevant credentials, then do not say anything on the topic.

    As far as "Hooking them" a proper synopsis includes how the novel ends. There are a number of threads in the forum that discuss writing a synopsis in detail.

    Good luck.

    Terry
     
  4. cinnim0ngirl
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    cinnim0ngirl Member

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    Thank you :) It's good to know it can just be left out. I was stressing on that more than anything. Realistically I know everyone starts somewhere but when it's you it can feel hopeless.

    I still don't get how to write a synopsis. For mine at least. I wish there was some type of website that would show authors actual queries. That way we could see it after reading the book and with knowledge of it see how they broke it down. I think that would give a better understanding. For me at least. Mine is a first person narrative I guess is the right term, it takes place in the current but the actual story part is her telling it to someone. I am afraid my summary of it will seem like pulp fiction on fast forward. It flows well and I feel I did a good job but I am stumped by the query and how to break it down into 2 pages. Has anyone had this same problem? I'm sure a lot of people struggle with it. Anyway, thanks for explaining the credentials thing. -thats probably reading as annoyance but it isn't directed at anyone. I am frustrated but only with myself.
     
  5. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    If its a query lettey you need to write, then its not a synopsis that's included. A synopsis is something seperate. A query letter is more like the blurb you'd find on the back of a book. You need to grab the agent's attention. Reveal the main character/s, themes and one or two pivotal events but that's it. And every word should exude your writing style, so its like a mini representation of what you've achieved with your novel.

    A synopsis is an adjunct that not all agents ask for, but some do. That's where you write out the summary of your plot from start to finish. If you want to see an example of what a query letter should be like, google Nelson Literary Agency. It's got a FAQ with actual sample queries and why they worked.
     
  6. cinnim0ngirl
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    cinnim0ngirl Member

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    Thank you for explaining. I feel stupid that I am struggling with this so badly. I will definitely google. The agency guidelines are for a synopsis, but the agents all ask for different things. I should probably do one of each, if at least for the practice. Thanks again :)
     
  7. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh and don't get too caught up with one agency. Look at those queries, then make yours similar... and then send it to about twenty agents. While they may all differ in the other requirements, a concise, eye-catching query is something that most of them want
     
  8. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    Don't forget that what you're essentially trying to do is sell the book to them so that they will - in turn - sell it to other people.

    You don't have to be dishonest, but don't undersell yourself either - it's all about the pitch
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that guidline said 'including' meaning in the query... so the 'synopsis' referred to was simply the middle of three paragraphs that should summarize the plot of your book, which as terry noted must include the ending and not be a tease...

    i have lots of good tips from the pros on how to write a good query that i can forward and can also help you with it, if you want... you can email me any time...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     

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