Monday, October 25, 2010

Selling Your Novel

By: Julie Daines                     

Selling your novel can be harder than writing it.  So when it comes time to start sending your precious story off like a lamb to the slaughter, it pays to do it right.

Most agents request three elements: the query, the synopsis and the first chapter.  These are your tools to selling your book.

Here’s a basic guide that I’ve found helpful in preparing each of these elements.

The Query:  In the query letter you are selling the concept of your book.  It should identify the main characters and setting, and then a quick idea of the main themes, the conflict, and what’s at stake.  (I’m only referring to the paragraph or two about the actual book.  You’ll also need to show that you’ve done research about the agent, show some credentials etc.)

The Synopsis:  In the synopsis you are selling the story of your book.  The plot, what happens, the character arc, and how it all comes together in an exciting and wonderfully original, thought out way.

The First Chapter:  With the first chapter you’re selling the writing of your book.  This is where you let them see your amazing style, the original voicing, and the way you turn a phrase just right.  With these pages you convince them that they can’t possibly live without reading the rest of your novel.

This is, of course, a general guideline.  Ideally, you want a small overlap, letting each element carry a hint of the others. For example, the fact that you are a good writer should also be evident in the query and synopsis.

Good luck!

3 comments:

Brooke said...

Short, sweet, and to the point. Another fabulous post. And definitely less controversial than the problem novel :)

Yamile said...

I've never read the purpose and definition of query/synopsis/first chapter better stated anywhere else. Great job, Julie! During query letter drafting I kept going back to "that email" you sent me, which opened my eyes.

Scott said...

Great post!

One more point, although it doesn't quite fit in your post: research. Your three submission pieces could be the best ever, but if you send them to the wrong person, you'll be rejected.