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The Dreaded Synopsis – Part 2

In this second part we’ll look at how to structure the synopsis.It’s important to stress that there is no absolutes here, no “right” way of doing things, simply because all agents are different and they’re looking for different things. But what they do look for is a wells structured, cohesive synopsis that tells them what they need to know, which is presented in exactly the way they ask.
The formatting should be perfect. That means it’s correctly presented, with no spelling mistakes or typos. The margins, line spacing and font should also be correct.This is where you have to pay particular attention to what agents require. Some are happy with 1.5 spacing, others like 2 point. Ensure a 1” margin all round. If the agent asks for Arial font, then follow the instruction. Others might want TNR. Always follow what they require.
Make sure you have the title of the book and your name at the top of the synopsis. Don’t just write ‘Synopsis’. Write something like: ‘Synopsis: The Hidden Cartel by (…

The Dreaded Synopsis – Part 1

If there is one thing about the writing process that strikes fear into almost all writers, it’s writing the dreaded synopsis.But is it really that bad? Writers don’t like this part of submitting their books to agents, because the reality is that it’s hard to condense a complex story of 90,000 words or so into a one page or 500 word summary. And it can be hard – if writers have never done one before. But it doesn’t have to be. That’s because authors become fixated by the idea that they have to explain everything that happens in their novel, otherwise the agents won’t understand what the story is about. You don't have to describe settings, character backgrounds, subplots and themes and so on. It’s impossible and the synopsis will end up a mess. Agents don’t want every single detail. They want an outline of the key events – the major plot points/ twists, major characters, key scenes and they want to know how the story ends. Use the synopsis to show a structured story arc and plot, inters…

Literary Agent Submission Cover Letters

A cover letter with your submission (usually via email) is your introduction to the literary agent. There is no absolute right way of doing this, just as there is no right way of doing synopsis, since every publisher and literary agents is different, and they want different things from authors. They have likes and dislikes and each one is looking for the right fit, and that is why it really is all down to luck of the draw, but it’s also about how you present yourself to them. Before you even write a cover letter, you should have spent time searching and researching literary agents and publishers that you think might be able to represent you and your work. You will know that they are currently open to new submissions; they represent your genre, and have an established list of authors on their books. The research will also have told you whom you should address your letter. Don’t address it to ‘Whoever it may concern’, as this shows a lack of professionalism and lack of focus. Know the con…