The Writer’s 8 Tools of Pitching

Picture 6Getting ready to go on submission to agents?

Don’t know what to have prepared?

Wish you had a checklist?

Here’s your tool kit:

1. Log Line: You have to be able to describe your book in one sentence.

2. Query: Use a three paragraph structure 1) why you’re querying this agent, log line, genre and word count 2) short ‘back cover copy-style’ paragraph 3) author bio (hint: it’s okay to call yourself a debut)–and make sure you have a finished manuscript!

3. 1 Page Synopsis: Make sure you have a short synopsis handy for when the requests start to roll in.

4. 3 Page Synopsis: Make sure you have a long synopsis handy. Some agents like short & some long. Make sure you have both handy so you don’t have to delay sending your manuscript when an agent requests it.

5. Critique Partner: I hope you have one before this point, but it’s always good to have someone you can talk to about the process other than your agent. Continue reading The Writer’s 8 Tools of Pitching

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How To Write A Book Synopsis

Once Upon A Time pencilMany writers I know find writing a synopsis VERY difficult. There’s so much you want to include. How do you decide what to leave out? How long it is supposed to be? What tone should you write it in?

5 Steps To A Perfect Synopsis

1. Take time to set up the premise

Use the opening paragraph to set up the setting, premise, and other world building ideas. You only have one chance to draw us into your world. If someone hasn’t read your book and is reading your synopsis first what will they need to know?

2. Focus on conflict

We want to know what trouble we’ll be encountering in this book. What are the road blocks? What hurdles does the main character have to overcome? How high are the stakes?

3. Clearly outline the character’s growth arc

A one dimensional main character will suck the air out of your manuscript’s tires. We want to see a character develop and grow over the course of the book. The synopsis is the perfect place to boil this down. Show how the main character reacts in certain situations. Bring them to life on the pages of the synopsis even though you’re not writing creatively.

4. Focus on plot

What is the narrative arc? The synopsis is a play-by-play. Don’t be afraid to tell–even though in your manuscript you’ll be showing, not telling, right?–because we want to know what the main scenes will entail. It’s hard to know how many details to include, but if you start with a summary of each chapter and then mould it together you’ll be able to see what chapters are the most important to the reader’s understanding of the book.

5. Tell us the ending

Yes, please tell us the ending! This is a common misconception. A synopsis isn’t a query letter and it isn’t your back cover copy. Tell us how things resolve. Being able to resolve your manuscript is a big writerly skill and we want to see you can do it well.

A simple synopsis: premise, rising action of conflict, climax, character growth, resolution. 

What NOT to do in your synopsis:

  • Write it in your main character’s voice
  • Include EVERY plot point
  • Detail what the reader will learn and hit us over the head with metaphor and symbolism
  • Leave the ending, or other major plot points, out

TIP: If you want to be prepared in advance for when an agent asks, have a 1 and 3 page synopsis ready. Some agents ask for synopses of different lengths so save yourself some time when you get a request.

Some synopsis resources:

How to Write a Synopsis Without Losing Your Mind

Anatomy of a short synopsis

The synopsis: what it is, what it isn’t, how to write it

Marissa Meyer on synopsis writing

Query vs Synopsis: don’t send one in place of the other

A synopsis is not a query letter.

A query and a synopsis are two very different things and should not be replaced for one another.

Query: pitch including your hook, brief overview of the book in a captivating blurb, and short bio including your writing background and distinctions.

Synopsis: a summary of your work outlining all the plot points and major characters.

A synopsis should never be sent in place of a query. A synopsis typically does not make an agent want to request more. Your query should be enticing and intriguing, and a synopsis is straightforward and factual. You don’t want to be mixing these up or thinking a synopsis is a suitable substitute. A synopsis is useful in its own way once an agent does show interest.

Additionally, do not plunk a long synopsis into the middle paragraph of your query letter. Tailor it to be an enchanting overview paragraph that leaves the reader on edge. Continue reading Query vs Synopsis: don’t send one in place of the other

Hook, Synopsis, Pitch: What’s the difference?

Something that can be very confusing is the terminology agents and industry professionals use in the submission and query process. Many agents and editors ask for different things so how do you know what is what?

Hook

One or two sentences on how your book is different from other books on the shelf and in your genre.

Synopsis

A detailed description of the plot points and the ending.

Pitch

One to three lines that describe your book in a sales-y way. How are you going to tell what your book is about, sell your book, attract attention, and stand out? It is a focused angle introducing the heart, high stakes and conflict of the story. Continue reading Hook, Synopsis, Pitch: What’s the difference?