Wednesday, 21 November 2007

The Next Step

My hideous cold has gone -- yippee!

And my agent submission package is done! The pitch is probably the most difficult thing I have ever written. It’s taken countless versions and umpteen drafts to achieve something with which I’m happy; to reach a point where I know I’ve done my best.

Each agent I’m interested in submitting to has a different set of guidelines. In the first instance, Agent A requires a query letter via email. Agent B asks for a query letter and a specified number of pages via email. Agent C prefers a query letter, a synopsis and pages via email. While Agent D likes to receive a large manila envelope containing a letter, a synopsis, the first three chapters, and an SAE.

No problem. It’s nice to follow the guidelines and know you’ve done the right thing.

But I’m still biting my toes, my desk, and the rim of the bath, over the length of the dreaded synopsis. Particularly when asked for a ‘short’ or ‘brief’ synopsis -- because how long is a piece of string? On the longer end, some agents will accept two or three pages, and on the shorter end, a half page synopsis is specifically requested. Now that’s what I would class as brief, but I’m just guessing.

I’ve honed mine down to one page (double spaced), but I also have a two-page version that's smoother to read.

I’m submitting a short YA novel (22,000 words / 101 pages), and am aware that, for many agents, it will be an automatic rejection because of the length. But I’m a fan of short fiction -- Beligian author Amélie Nothomb being one of my favourites -- and the length feels right for the story. It's humorous, suspenseful, fast-paced -- with lots of action, limited locations, and a time frame of 24 hours.

We’ll see…!


Catherine J Gardner / Phoenix Rendell said...

Found your blog while trawling Technorati - good luck with your submission. Cate :)

Mary said...

Cate -- thank you so much!