Tag Archives: agents

Death to Synopses

Ok, everyone knows writing query letters take time, energy, tears, editing, and more tears. However, a synopsis is perhaps the worst thing I’ve ever had to write.

The query has its own cute little synopsis built right in to get your attention and catch your interest. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a long synopsis that lists every major event, main characters, and all the plot twists. As an agent, I’d love to have that to know what’s coming without reading 10 books a day. As a writer I want to strangle my computer.

The problem with synopsis is not giving away all the juicy secrets, it’s the total lack of formula. Finding an example query is not too hard. Most agency websites have them, most Google searches can help you out, but a synopsis can be anywhere from 1 page to 50 pages depending on what the agent wants. It’s even more infuriating when the agent doesn’t say how long the synopsis should be! Rant rant rant rant rant etc.

Thank you for listening to my frustrated brain. I’ve tried looking around for help from my SCBWI stranger/friends, but I’ve come up dry. They’ve been instrumental in helping craft my query and MS, but they too seem to have different ideas of what a synopsis is. Some people thought I meant query letter with the baby synopsis. Nope. Some people thought the synopsis was an old practice. *sigh* Nope. One person read my synopsis and gave me their opinion on what they think I should be focusing on. Umm….nope, but thanks for the second guessing?

It’s very frustrating and concerning. My query has gotten a couple agents interested and I want my synopsis to do the same. There are people I want to send my MS to who also want a synopsis, but I’m afraid of sending the “wrong” synopsis and then have them brush me off as someone who didn’t read the directions. I like directions. I will follow them to the end of time. I promise, agent-who-may-read-this-some-day, I don’t want to flood your inbox with spam!

Anyway, my current synopsis is 500 words (ish) with all the juicy secrets, about 4 characters worth mentioning, and maybe some kind of flow (but not likely.) I’d like to find a way to improve my brain fart of a book summary. Please, does anyone have a great source of where to find good example fiction queries?

I appreciate you taking the time to read this. I like to be helpful when I can in my blog, but right now I’m at a complete loss.

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Filed under agent search, book synopsis, query, writing

Inspiration

Since the last post I’ve received about 5 more rejection letters. One person asked for the first 20 pages, but she read a bit and said it didn’t have the “spark” she was looking for. One person had a lovely rejection letter that at the end said:

Also remember that sometimes, writers endure long terms of rejection before they find the winning combination for themselves. They refused to give up, as I hope you will continue to do.”

That was nice. It was a cookie-cutter rejection letter, but this agent understands the struggle and was sincere about it. Many people do give up and I can see why. It’s hard getting rejections on a project I’ve worked so hard on with a character I love. My skin isn’t as thick as I want it to be. The rejections are getting a little easier, but it’s also hard to think someone will ask for a partial and then really like it. That’s the dream, but it’s hard to imagine when my MS isn’t sparkly enough for the agents who’ve seen it.

I’ve spent several weeks meekly picking at my MSs. I have the first 2 books written in my series–I’m trying to publish the first one–and I have no idea what to do with the third book. I’m not the kind of writer who can force myself to write. I need inspiration, something to fix, or some kind of itch to add and see what happens. That itch hasn’t existed since I started querying. I’ve been editing which is good. It gives me something tangible to improve without needing to think of a new idea out of nothing. I like editing. It’s easier to work on something that’s already there and improve it than think of the whole book in the first place sometimes.

Last night, however, I got the itch. An idea crept from somewhere in my brain and I had an idea. It’s a new book, not part of the trilogy, but still related to dragons (of course). Lucky for me, the baby I nanny for napped plenty today so I wrote over 3,000 words! It’s the most I’ve written in one day in a long long time. I’m still figuring out the details of the book, but it’s nice to get into a new character and some new plot twists. It’s like buying a new dress after you’ve worn your others a few times.

I’m excited to get started on this new book, but I do worry about straying too far from my series. In the past I’ve dropped projects and then taken years getting back to them, if I get back at all. I’m hoping this new book is like a cleanse to get the writing flowing. I can keep querying agents but also avoid staring at my finished MS and driving myself crazy! I’m hoping a new idea will get me excited about writing again. So far today it’s been just what I needed.

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Filed under fantasy writing, inspiration, writing

No.

My list of 75 agents is growing smaller and smaller. I didn’t realize how many agencies have a policy where “A no from one of us is a no from all of us.” I have to trust they actually shared my query with their co-workers, otherwise I may have missed a chance. Two agencies have said no, and I was hoping to query about 8 people I now can’t because of this policy.

My heart is racing. I turned on some fun music to pump myself up today, and I finished 4 queries. My query letter is good and my MS has been edited about 4 times so I hope it’s ok. I don’t want to exhaust my options. Again. I know it’s all part of the process, but it’s still disheartening.

Two weeks ago when I had a MS request was the most excited I’ve been in a long time. The no from that was hard, but not as hard as it could have been since I prepared for it. Yet, with each query sent I feel rejection is inevitable. It’s hard to get out of this funk. Self-publishing is not an option for this book so I have to hope an agent likes it.

If I go through all my agents, then what? This question has been plaguing me since the first rejection. I’ve been through this before, but my skin is not as tough as I thought it was. Do I start a new project? Do I push harder for this one? Do I, I dunno, troll Facebook for answers? I want to be optimistic but having a back up plan would help me a lot. Anyone have some good advice? Anyone been through this funk before? Wisdom welcome!!!

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Got my Hopes Up

Last week I got a manuscript request from an agent. After collection 15 rejection letters I was over the moon excited, but I knew it wasn’t an offer. I sent along The King’s School and all week I’ve been resisting checking my email every 5 minutes.

Today I heard back from him………….

It was a no. 😦

My heart sank and I’m upset, but not crying-and-throwing-my-computer-through-a-window upset. I sent him a thank you email and asked if there’s anything he could suggest to improve my writing. I don’t know if he’ll get back to me, but I gave it a shot. He said my MS has “a lot to appreciate here” but he’s not convinced he can advocate for me. I at least got a personalized rejection which is more comforting than an elaborate, cookie cutter “NO” from someone.

Oh well. There was a glimmer of hope though! My query worked with someone and my MS caught someone’s eye. Now I need to find someone to fall in love with it. I will keep going, even if I have to exhaust all 75 people on my agent list.

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Filed under query, Set Backs, writing

One Step Further

Yesterday I received an email from an agent asking for the first 5 pages of my manuscript! While it is not much, the fact that she wanted to read more than my query was encouraging. I have not heard from her yet, but I’m looking forward to her response. She might say no, but that’s ok. Someone wanted more and that makes me happy and geared up to keep querying.

The next step (that I keep putting off) is writing the 2 page synopsis of the book. Some agents want to read a synopsis upfront while others will ask for it later. I keep putting this off since it is so much work to write a succinct summary of the whole book. Like the query I have a small amount of space to make a big impression. I recently finished the query and that took a lot of time and patience and energy to get it to be the way I wanted. The synopsis gives me more space, but it covers more ground. I’m tired. I know I need to do it and that it will not be as bad as I’m anticipating. I am currently fostering 5 kittens and looking for a full time job while doing this, so that might be another reason while I’m putting it off. Maybe this weekend I’ll suck it up and get writing!

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The Agent Search

Today I spent a couple of hours on agentquery.com searching for potential agents for the next book, Charley’s Dragons. The hardest thing for me with this book is deciding the genre. It falls under New Adult fiction–that awkward balance between adults and teens–and has elements of fantasy although it is not a fantasy genre story. Finding the genre is obviously important in order to match with an agent. I eventually decided that CD is commercial fiction with fantasy elements and some women’s fiction issues. While I hate the term Commercial Fiction, it does fit what my story is the best. CD is written with heavy topics but in accessible language. I do not like to hide meaning with complex words and syntax. I want the reader to be able to engage with the story without worrying about what is going on.

So after clicking around, I read the profiles of about 115 agents to see if any of them would be the right fit. I like agentquery since agents are able to put down specifics of what they want and what their agency wants. Many of the agents had specific genres they wanted and sometimes they did not fit with my work. I also had to read carefully to double check that they were accepting queries and that they were not suddenly excluding certain genres.

Out of the agents I researched I chose 72. Out of those there are 2 or 3 I think would really like CD. Some of the agents I chose did not have any specifics of what they want/don’t want so I will need to look into them more. Others I took a risk with. Some of them do not want to represent fantasy, but everything else they wrote about fit with CD. I think I will end up querying them in hopes that they see that the fantasy in CD is based on a child’s hallucinations and not on a “real” fantasy world.

Every agent on my list I will need to re-visit on their agent pages and agency pages. I need to be sure that they are still accepting queries and to double check that they are still at the same agency! Sometimes people leave for whatever reason. I need to be sure I’m querying someone who will be available to read my MS. It is also necessary to see what each agent likes. I want to personalize my queries so that the agent knows I did my research. If they respect me taking the time to research them, then they should take the time to read my query.

My query letter is coming along. I’m not sure I’m going to send it out just yet. I want to be sure I am saying what I need to say but still keeping it to a page. Describing a whole book in 300 words is tricky. I will continue to adjust the query letter and maybe trim down the agent list. I am expecting to query at least 50 of these people. I’m preparing myself for a lot of rejection, but I know that’s part of the agent game. I am sure I will find an agent eventually. I am looking for constructive criticism from agents to improve what I have. I know CD is a good story, I just need to find the right representative.

Has anyone had any luck or difficulties with agents? I would love to hear about it! I know I self-published since I was frustrated the first time with The Healing Pool. Any comments/advice/etc. welcome here.

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