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11

Your premise may be central to your story. But that doesn't mean that it requires paragraphs of explanation, or that you should sideline the characters and just talk about your awesome idea. Rather, if you find that the explication of your idea is taking too much time, you probably just aren't cutting it hard enough. To illustrate, let me post the first ...


9

Your query is meant to introduce the book and make clear why it's compelling. That doesn't require you to explain its plot in detail, particularly if the plot isn't the compelling aspect of it. On the other hand, you can't just write "My novel is called [TITLE HERE], it's very funny, you should totally check it out." So you need a core aspect of your novel - ...


8

What Query Shark Says Let's take a look at what precisely QS has written there: This is a log line. Avoid them. Think about it: it [refers to: they must decide whether to resign their lives to inertia or fight for uncertain freedom] is a false choice. If they resign their lives to inertia, there's no story. And worse, this kind of log line ...


8

Writers often indulge a charming fantasy that publisher and agents are looking for originality. They are not. They are looking for works that fit into a well established sales channel and that habitual readers of a genre can quickly identify as the kind of book they like to read. Pretty much the worst thing you can do in a query letter is indulge in any kind ...


7

I think you can vary the structure depending on the story. By way of example, mystery writer Jennifer Moss splits her descriptions: of her three novels and one short story, two start with the detective, Ryan Doherty, and two start with the crime. For example, the first one starts with the detective, and segues into the case: After his partner is killed ...


7

So what is the highlight? Is it a character study of lunatics? A farce? A satire of a particular genre? A giddy romp across space and time? A surreal exploration of the absurdities inherent in our classist political system? A synopsis for a cover letter is really your elevator pitch — boil your book down into the fewest words which describe it, not ...


7

Log lines are just a way of quickly, pithily summarizing your book's plot and appeal into one sentence. They're not necessarily bad. as the Query Shark admits, lots of agents recommend using them. They're a style, and as such, some will appreciate them more than others. I think the thing to definitely avoid is using a BAD log line. Make sure you ...


6

Agents do get a lot of submissions. Hundreds. But it is a myth that they are too busy to take on new clients or that it's impossible to get an agent if you are an unknown author. A few years ago, I found myself in exactly your position. Here are the rejections I received for my first novel from the top ten literary agents in the UK: "Thank you for ...


5

In my experience, as a general rule-of-thumb, if you look at the number of reviews a book has on Amazon and multiply by 100, you'll be in the ballpark of their sales on Amazon. Some books might be double or quadruple this, and others might be half or less, but it gives you a general idea of whether you're talking about a book that sold 1,000 copies, 10,000 ...


5

I think you are focussing too much on introducing the characters in the synopsis too much. You are telling a mystery tale. Let a reader discover who are the characters later, it is not important to an agent. Focus instead on the situation and the atmosphere of the story. Leave a veil of mystery on the characters and their motives. You want to pitch your ...


4

Have you considered self publishing? If you are looking for inspiration, read Joe Konrath's blog, available here. Read through his back posts, and you may find some interesting stuff. One of them talks about his book, the list, that was rejected by all the publishers, and is now a bestseller. One of the comments to that post is worth reading: My favorite ...


4

For me, the problem is that the cliche hides the originality of your story. That is, it obscures the unique delights that distinguish your cat and mouse game from every other. Also "is forced" is pretty passive for a hero. Forced how? By whom? What details make your cat and mouse game original? Put those details in the log line. Yeah, I understand the ...


4

Well, that's not a logline, that's a (somewhat confusing) description of the premise. No agent is going to take a second look. A log line or logline is a brief (usually one-sentence) summary of a television program, film, or book that states the central conflict of the story, often providing both a synopsis of the story's plot, and an emotional "...


4

This is a perfectly reasonable way to name your character and introduce the name with a little backstory. Some people will call it cheesy. Some people will say that it lacks originality. But all stories are always just retellings of what someone else previously wrote. Your goal should be to give it a personal spin by using your own words and your own style....


3

If it's a book for younger children, the pictures are an important part of the package. You'll have a better chance submitting pictures and story than story alone. For an adult book, having a cover is not a big selling point, and I wouldn't suggest including the cover in your submission to a publisher unless it's something so perfect for your book it will ...


3

I've never been published. I've never contacted an agent. But I'll tell you this: I can't even count on sixteen hands the number of times I've read something JUST like this-- "Twilight was initially rejected by 14 agents, however, eight publishers competed for the rights to publish Twilight in the 2003 auction." [From Wikipedia] And obviously we all know ...


3

If it were me, I'd send the 52 pages. It would be ridiculous to trim the last two pages, and any agent who would reject you on the basis of such a tiny excess isn't worth bothering with. But if you're worried, it should be easy enough to make small adjustments to margins or font to reduce the page length.


3

A query or cover blurb for a murder mystery must contain three elements: the detective, the crime, and the element connecting them both. The weight of each element is variable, and the first and second can easily switch places. For a character-driven psychological study of a 'defective detective' archtype, lead with the protagonist. In almost all other cases,...


3

I don't think they are open for infodumps, because they do not have the time to read them. And after the tenth infodump you get easily bored. I do not know the books you have mentioned, so I cannot help you there. But normally the agent (or publisher) just wants to get an idea what your book is about. To do that you do not need to explain a complex plot/...


3

Yes, author's do this all the time. One of the books I use frequently is The Writer's Digest Character Naming Sourcebook", it lists 25,000 first and last names and their meanings from around the world and dozens of cultures. Unfortunately, my version does not contain many Asian names (Japanese, Chinese, Korean); I don't know if the current version does or ...


3

Query letters and book proposals are two related, but distinctly different tools for selling your book. A query letter is a brief "hooky" one-page document that is often sent as a "cold-call," meaning as your first contact with an agent or publisher you have no previous relationship with. Its purpose is to separate you from the crowd, and to get you a ...


3

Where to find critique for query letters? Pitch wars (an annual event pairing aspiring fiction novelists with people in the industry) is imminent and this link leads to the 'middle grade query letter' message board for entrants and mentors (and anyone interested). There are other boards for young adult, adult, etc. The boards are quite actively critiquing ...


2

I found new book sales, rankings, and reviews tracking service. It tracks all your book data from Amazon (Apple books, google books, Smashwords as well) and puts them into one chart in the app. Everything is so synoptical. They are planning to add the category analyzer as well. It saved quite a lot of my time. And their support is very nice too, very quick ...


2

A query letter is a sales tool. The feedback you want is not from writers but from people in the business of selling books. I don't know that there is a reliable way to know if you are getting that on line. I think you would do much better to seek advice in person. Ideally, try to find someone in your area offering a workshop like this: http://quick-brown-...


2

Present tense, because they are all dealing with what your work IS. Your query is a short passage, just a few sentences, trying to sell your story to the agent. Your outline and synopsis are both longer and go further into detail on what your story is, and what it's telling about. Think of it as you presenting the book to someone you've never met. You're ...


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