How to write a novel synopsis for a literary agent

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How to write a novel synopsis for a literary agent

Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and download free character development worksheets! Ben Sobieck February 1, Before you submit your novel to an agent or publisher, there are things you need to do.

First and foremost, you must finish the work. If you contact an agent and she likes your idea, she will ask to see some or all of the manuscript.

False beginnings

All want an SASE self-addressed, stamped envelope with adequate postage, unless they request an electronic submission. These sources have submission specifications that come straight from the editors and agents telling you just what to send, how to send it and when to anticipate a response.

Be prepared to send at least a query letter, a synopsis and three consecutive sample chapters. These are the most important—and most requested—parts of your novel package. You may not need to send them all in the same submission package, but you probably will need to use each of them at one time or another, so prepare everything before you start submitting.

Quickly tell what your novel is about without making the editor or agent read the novel in its entirety. There are no hard and fast rules about the synopsis. Most editors and agents agree, though: The shorter, the better.

Finally, even though the synopsis is only a condensed version of your novel, it must seem complete. Remember that your synopsis should have a beginning, a middle and an ending yes, you must tell how the novel ends to round out your synopsis.

You need to be concise, compelling and complete, all at the same time. In past years, there used to be a fairly universal system regarding synopses.

For every 35 or so pages of your manuscript, you would have one page of synopsis explanation, up to a maximum of eight pages.

So, if your book was pages, double-spaced, your synopsis would be approximately seven pages. This was fairly standard, and allowed writers a decent amount of space to explain their story.

You should write a synopsis following these guidelines first. This will be your long synopsis.

Learn How to Write a Synopsis, Quick & Easy Format Tips & Examples

The problem is that during the past few years, agents started to get busier and busier, and now they want to hear your story now-now-now. Many agents today request synopses of no more than two pages.

Some even say one page, but two pages is generally acceptable. If you think your short synopsis is tight and effective, always use that.

How to Write a Novel Synopsis that sells your story

However, if you think the long synopsis is actually more effective, then you will sometimes submit one and sometimes submit the other. If an agent requests two pages max, send only the short one. Your best bet on knowing what to submit is to follow the guidelines of the agency or publisher in question.

The editor or agent can provide you with specific formatting guidelines indicating how she wants it sent and the type of files she prefers. If an agent or editor does request an electronic submission, keep the following four points in mind: Follow the same formatting specs as for a paper synopsis submission.

Send the synopsis as an attachment to your e-mail unless the editor or agent requests otherwise. Include a cover letter in the body of your e-mail, and your cover page and table of contents in the file along with the synopsis. Get a clear, step-by-step process for tackling your synopsis—no matter what the length requirement—as well as examples of good and bad synopsis.This week's Agent Spotlight features Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis, Inc..

Status: Open to submissions, actively building her client list. About: “Christa Heschke graduated from Binghamton University with a major in English and a minor in Anthropology.

how to write a novel synopsis for a literary agent

She started in publishing as an intern at both Writers House and Sterling Lord Literistic, where she fell in love with the agency side of. How to Write a Novel: 47 Rules for Writing a Stupendously Awesome Novel That You Will Love Forever [Nathan Bransford] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

5 Tips on How to Write a Synopsis

The most important thing to know about writing a novel is this: You can do it. And if you've already written one. It’s probably the single most despised document you might be asked to prepare: the synopsis..

how to write a novel synopsis for a literary agent

The synopsis is sometimes required because an agent or publisher wants to see, from beginning to end, what happens in your story. Query letters? Do literary agents really read them?

Agents take queries very seriously, and yes, they really do read them. It’s not some universal rumor that agents have perpetuated because they all have a secret fetish for being bombarded with mail. Once you have finished writing your novel or book, it’s time to prepare your work for the submission process.

While each literary agent has their own specific guidelines, it’s useful to know how to write a synopsis. When you approach literary agents, you will need to present them with a submission package that includes a query letter, a sample of your manuscript and, of course, a synopsis.

How To Write A 1-Page Synopsis | Pub(lishing) Crawl