Lessons from the Agent Trenches:

It took about a month for me to really appreciate this observation:

“Crafting queries that jump out of slushpiles is not a challenge to be taken lightly.

My original query clearly didn’t catch anyone’s attention. I thought my second one was killer, but it’s apparently no more compelling than the first one. If I was being rejected at the “Partial request” or “full request” stage, I might blame the story – but getting sorted out at the pitch stage is more likely a test of one’s pitch writing skills than one’s novel writing skills.
But wait!

As a former radio and ad agency copywriter, I spent fifteen years of my life selling things in thirty seconds or less. I should be all over this challenge!

When I first started this process, I thought that my challenge was to take my complicated concept and reduce it to a paragraph so that the pitchee (that’s a more fun and versatile word than agent or publisher) could figure out the plot from my description.

But I suspect I was wrong. That’s the job of the synopsis!

The trick with the query – is putting just enough of it out there of it to make people want to know more.

At least, that’s my theory of the week. I'll tell you in a few weeks how THAT panned out!.


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