How To Improve Your Manuscript Submission
- Write a query letter that “hooks’ the reader
- Do your research. Make sure you address your query to a specific agent who specializes in your type of writing.
- Tell the agent how you heard about them.
- Identify the genre or category your proposed book fit into and mention which publisher or line you are targeting, if applicable.
- Include the manuscript word count.
- Tell the agent a little bit about yourself. Mention any published works or awards you may have.
- Briefly describe the plot of your manuscript in a way that is clear and compelling. This summary can and should reflect your style and voice.
- Don’t forget to include your contact information, including email address and phone number.
- Make sure you always include a self-addressed stamped envelope with any mailed query.
- Your query should be highly polished (no typos or grammatical errors), original and brief. A one-page query is preferable.
- Write a great synopsis
Writing a synopsis seems to be an almost universally despised activity, and though it may seem odd to imagine, agents and editors aren’t particularly fond of reading them either. Call them a necessary evil. It is important to show an agent that you are presenting a complete story with all the component parts that will successfully frame a thoughtful and fully-formed plot. In their most basic form, fiction synopses should include the beginning, the conflicts, the resolutions and the ending. This synopsis represents you and your work and it is a great forum for displaying your skills with plot structure and drama. Make it interesting, use your writer’s voice and try to have some fun with it. A dry-as-a-bone synopsis isn’t good for anyone. Take your time, read it out loud so you can really “hear” how it sounds and continue to improve it until you are finally happy with the results.
- Have patience with the process
You agonized over your query letter, you sweat blood for your synopsis and let’s not even mention what you had to go through to get the manuscript written. You are way past ready to find out if your baby is destined for stardom. Unfortunately, agents receive countless queries each week and it just isn’t possible for them to reply as soon you might like. Be assured, though, that any agency you query is doing its best to make sure that every submission gets a fair and thorough read. You must understand that an agent’s first responsibility is to their clients and those clients’ needs come before answering your query. Be patient.