I’m Ready To Query! Or Not.

Readying Query Packages:

Types of Queries and Sizes of Synopsis

This month, I’ve been getting ready for the next step, (while waiting for feedback on my new ending…). Yep, I’m back to getting ready to query. (You’ve heard this before…)

I started researching.

There are probably as many best-practices for querying as there are agents to querying.

Types of Queries

  • I’ve been mostly following Query Shark and reading 8+ years of archives. She advocates getting straight to the plot, no hook. Minimal platform and bio, let the story sell itself.
  • But there’s also Writer’s Digest. Explain why you picked the agent (flatter lightly). A few paragraphs about the book and the initial motivation for the main character. Finish off with the book details, the market description, and compare your book.
  • Finally? There’s the brief version: give a hook and the book’s stats, a paragraph about the story, and a bio: the standardized pared down version advocated at AgentQuery.

So what do I do?

Multiple queries. Then, read the agency recommendations for the agents whose profiles include interests in my genre and category of writing, and hope I picked the right one.

I THOUGHT I was ready. I have my 3 queries.

And then I read their query directions.

Types of Query Packages That Were Requested:

  • Query letter alone
  • Query letter and pages/chapters*
  • Query letter and synopsis
  • Query letter, synopsis, and pages/chapters

Since they’re typically requested to be pasted into the email, the next question is:

What order?

Luckily, Janet “The Query Shark” Reid’s blog addressed that today.

Always put pages before synopsis. Your novel should be your strongest point. Your opening needs to be grabbing. If your opening pages aren’t more interesting and engaging than your synopsis, you’re probably not ready to query.

Thus, I had to write a synopsis. Condensing my full-length novel into HOW many pages?

Guess.

.

.

.

Agents all have different preferences!

Read their profiles and find out! Here are the different lengths they asked for:

Synopsis Page Length:

  • Yes
  • Brief
  • 1-2 pages
  • 1-3 pages

What’s a writing-gal to do?

Create a Brief Synopsis:

  1. Write a 3-page synopsis
  2. Edit it down to 2 pages
  3. Edit it down to 1 page
  4. Edit it down to half a page.

And BAM! You have all the versions you need.**

The best thing about a synopsis?

  • You can see all the weak parts within your story.
  • You can see the scenes that don’t necessarily support the plot.

Now?

You can either edit them to fit better or delete them.

* (Specified between 3 and 50 pages, or 1 to 3 chapters)

** (Like it’s that easy. If I could have told my story in 3 pages, I wouldn’t have written the other 347!)

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8 thoughts on “I’m Ready To Query! Or Not.

  1. I’ve done a lot of research on the dreaded synopsis. The best advice I found was to write it as if you were summarizing a movie for a friend. The author I felt the strongest affinity for was Graeme Shimmin, not only for his instruction on synopsis writing, but also for his Blockbuster Concept, Elevator Pitch, and Logline.

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