1. Bert
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    Bert New Member

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    What to send to an agent/publisher- Full manuscript or three chapters and a synopsis?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Bert, May 2, 2012.

    Hi there. New to the forum.
    I have a question about something which has always bemused me and could well be one of the reasons I have never sent a single thing I have written to a publisher or an agent (other than the inevitable insidious fear of crushing rejection).

    I have read (on various forums and in magazines) that "if you have a great idea for a novel, you should write at least 10,000 words and a bio for your main protagonist and you should send these along with the outline for the entire story to suitable agents and publishers".

    My question is: due to the organic nature of writing a novel, what if you were to happily send off the first three chapters, along with an in-depth bio for your hero and the broad outline of your novel only to discover that as you continue writing, the story changes and the outline becomes more and more brutalized, until it bears very little resemblence to your original idea. Some of the best ideas pop into your head as your fingers fly, so it would probably mean the new version of the story is in fact better than the original, but what if an agent had already said "hey, this sounds great, send me the rest!" only for the rest to be quite different from the original synopsis currently in his possession?

    I guess I'm exhibiting my ignorance of the industry, but I'm just wondering whether I should crack on and send my inchoate novel out into the world as it stands at 30,000 words. I know the ending, I know the basic structure and key events. I just anticipate them changing and rendering the synopsis already drifting past the eyes of the publishing gods obsolete.

    Just wondering. Some advice would be greatly appreciated!
    B.
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    My understanding, at least in the United States and for fiction, is that you write the whole thing before contacting agent or publishers. Write it, polish it, polish it again, get it as good as you can possibly imagine getting it, and then send query letters to agents.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yep.

    Even if an agent or editor only want to see the first three chapters, it should be finished before you submit. You'll look foolish if they send you a reply asking to see the rest of the manuscript and you have to tell them it isn't done.
     
  4. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I note that this is your first post, welcome to the forums.

    I agree with the above comments.

    You need to have a finished ms and then you sent out the first three chapters with a synopsis.
     
  5. Bert
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    Bert New Member

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    Thanks.

    Thanks for the replies. This is as I expected and makes perfect sense to me!
    Right, I'd better crack on...
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Most agents and publishers don't accept unsolicited manuscripts. Save a tree, and don't send the first three chapters unless you are invited to do so.

    Send a query letter, with a brief synopsis. If that piques their interest, they will request a partial or full manuscript.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    listen to cog!

    and each agent/publisher has their own preference, so send ONLY what each one tells you to send in their submission guidelines... and do NOT send anything other than the query letter UNTIL or UNLESS they request it...

    btw, 30k is way too short for a novel, so i hope that figure represents only about 1/3 of what the total will be when completed...
     
  8. Bert
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    Bert New Member

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    Yes indeed. That's why I said it was inchoate. 'Tis but the beginning...
     
  9. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If it's still gonna change, then you don't have a complete enough idea to be sending anything anyway.

    And don't waste your time - no one will look at it if you're not already finished and at publishable standard.

    Also, just a guess now, but I don't think any agent would bother with a 10k bio of your hero before they even know whether they're remotely interested in your work, let alone think about publishing it. They have too much work to do. You may love your character - but they don't, it's not their baby. I guess it may be useful for your own writing. I just don't see why an agent would care about your hero's bio - surely whatever they need to know should already be conveyed in the MS and if it's not, then it's not publishable anyway?
     
  10. Bert
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    Bert New Member

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    Crikey. I'm not sure I mentioned a 10,000 word bio! To clarify, I agree with everything you're all saying, I was querying 'advice' I had read a few times on various sites over the years. I think my interest was piqued recently by an article in my wife's Glamour magazine of all places!

    I will finish the manuscript. I will rewrite it. I will rewrite it again. And then again. And after that I will send it off and look forward to all the rejection letters. That's the usual process I believe.
    B.
     
  11. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Hahaha I'm sorry, I misread it :D Yeh, that would be why it sounded a little er... strange :D

    You'll get published. Believe it! Try and try again, you'll run into someone who loves your work. If Stephanie Meyer got published, I think we all have a chance ;)
     
  12. Rayne
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    Rayne New Member

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    You'll get published. Believe it! Try and try again, you'll run into someone who loves your work. If Stephanie Meyer got published, I think we all have a chance ;)

    Haha I'm hoping that'll happen to me. Just finished 80k word novel. Fingers crossed one day Bert you and I will be published!!!
     

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