Ask the Agent: Your Questions Answered! Part III

Question from Karma:
When an agent asks for a brief synopsis as part of submission process, is it safe to assume they’d like more than the paragraph that lives in the query letter? A 1-2 page breakdown?
Thanks so much!

When an agent asks for a synopsis they are looking for the bones of the plot to be laid out from start to finish. For some they use it to remind themselves of why they requested in the first place and jog their memory to the project at hand. For some they like to know the outcome to see if it works structurally before they delve into committing to read the whole thing.

Question from Maria:
How often does an agent accept a non-fiction proposal when there is just an outline and some chapters finished?

Non-fiction is always presented in a proposal format with a handful of sample chapters. The only exception is a memoir. The components of a non-fiction proposal are as follows:

  • Project overview
  • Author Bio
  • Market for the book
  • Marketing plan
  • Comparative titles
  • Table of Contents
  • Sample Chapters
Question from Jessa:
Thank you for offering to answer some of our questions Carly!
My question is in regards to the back cover blurb, so it may or may not be appropriate for this particular Ask Agent. But since you never know if you don’t ask …
We know that queries should NEVER be in the POV of the main character, but it’s recently been suggested to me that my back cover blurb might benefit from a first person POV. What are your thoughts on first person POV book blurbs? I’m unsure how I feel about it.

I wouldn’t recommend a first person POV book blurb. To me, it doesn’t add anything and might be distracting. Let’s open this up. Has anyone seen this done? Do you think it works? Answer in the comments below.

Come back tomorrow for Part IV of Ask the Agent: Your Questions Answered!

Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

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