Friday, November 21, 2008

Queries and Synopses

We write our novels, we get it critiqued, we polish it. And two/seventeen years later, we get to the fun part: submitting our work, a process that involves writing various shorter works to entice agents and editors so they'll ask to read our manuscripts. Many authors deal with it with fear and trepidation, creating a new area where those in the know can help. And help they do, by writing articles and books and critiquing the efforts of the many unpublished authors.

For example,
Editorial Anonymous is offering an open mic night for synopses. If you like to participate, email her with synopses of well-known, published middle-grade/YA novels (synopses should be no more than 150 words). She'll post them with her comments regarding thoroughness, clarity, style, and appeal in a later post.

Many aspiring writers are rising to the challenge by educating themselves and by spending as much sweat on their query letters and the synopses as they do on their books.

And then the inevitable happens, as told by agent Stephen Barbara at Publishers Weekly. He now receives so many well-written queries that he will only skim through them to get to the writing samples. Sadly, his experiences so far have shown him that a good query letter is no longer a mark of a good writer.

It is all in the writing--of the book.

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