1. Jewels
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    Jewels Member

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    Is a request for a synopsis only a bad sign?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Jewels, Sep 16, 2011.

    This is probably a very silly question but I have just received a request from an agent for my synopsis only, after sending just a query letter as outlined in the submission guidelines.

    I know from browsing forums etc that this agent usually asks for at least a partial so I'm wondering if this shows he is not very interested?

    I really don't understand why someone would request only a synopsis as it's very hard to get a good idea of someone's writing without reading at least some of the manuscript. It would also be a lot more convenient you would think to request the first 3 chapters so that he doesn't have to then come back to me again.... I'm thinking I should probably just write this one off.
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    A synopsis might be useful for them in determining whether the book is something they can market. Seems a bit odd to ask for it without at least a sample chapter or something, but it seems to me that if they are asking for anything instead of just saying "no thanks," that is a positive.
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with Steerpike. Every agent has his/her own way of doing things, and some want a synopsis and/or a sample chapter before deciding that they want more. They want to see if the idea is one that they would feel comfortable working with.

    Best of luck.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Some publishers have very fixed ideas about the stories they want to market. But if you have been here for more than a week, you probably know my opinion of the value of a synopsis.

    On the other hand, a synopsis is a concise piece of writing. A publisher can tell a lot about your writing skill by seeing how you handle such a tight writing challenge. If your synopsis is unfocused, or worse yet, presents poor grammar and punctuation, she won't have to waste time reading twenty or thirty pages worth of disappointment (or load up the trash bins with the same).
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    If the agent took the trouble of sending _any_ non-boilerplate response, then I'd respond to that request. If they weren't at least a little interested, they wouldn't have requested the synopsis.

    ChickenFreak
     
  6. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    What others have said. You have the agent's interest...maybe not jumping up and down interest, but you have it.

    A synopsis will demonstrate some of your writing skills. It will tell them what the story contains and how it ends.

    A synopsis isn't an easy thing to write, at least for most writers. Hang in there and good luck!

    Terry
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sounds to me like the agent saw something in your query that piqued his interest, but you didn't give enough of a summary for him to be sure he'd want to bother reading the ms or sample chapters, so asked for a synopsis instead, as an intermediate step...

    be glad he asked for something and stop worrying over it not being what you wanted it to be...
     
  8. CULLEN DORN
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    CULLEN DORN Member

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    All of the above is sound advise. In fact, it is heads-on!
    Sypnosis must fit the requirement of the present market.
    Otherwise there is no need for it. This gives the agent
    a peek-a-boo idea for placement.
     
  9. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    Chickenfreak said what I would have.

    Any response other then "Sorry, no" is good.
    remember publishing is overwhelmed with submissions, they won't waste time on anything that doesn't interest them.
     
  10. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's a positive, hang on in there and good luck.
     
  11. guymark
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    guymark New Member

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    Jewels, it isn't a silly question - but it would have been silly not to ask it if you are unsure.

    We publish people electronically - and depending on where we advertise we can receive quite a substantial amount of interest "all at once". Rather than have dozens of lengthy submission being sent in, the first stage is simply "pop us your synopsis over by email in .doc or pdf format please". This does a couple of things - FIRSTLY if someone then send a .pages document with lots of typos we have some idea of the level of attention-to-detail they pay - and SECONDLY we can find out usually from the synopsis, the writers style, readability - and hopefully a bit of information about the plot too!

    I cannot speak for others - but I truly do not think someone would ask you for a synopsis if they had no interest in your work whatsoever. Why waste their time or yours? I think if you "write this one off", you will do yourself a great dis-service - partly because I am guessing that there IS some level of interest - and partly because if you reject them by not following through with their request, they may take a dim view if you choose to approach them again with a different manuscript.

    Your call - but I tend to agree with the other folks on here - Get a wiggle on and submit it.

    Blue Skies
    Mark
     

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