Your manuscript needs to be perfect and completed before you send it to be published. It’s critical to get feedback from writers groups and editors. Pay a professional to edit your book.
Query letters – One page and one page only. Introducing you, who are you? And what is the book about?
It should be three paragraphs- The hook; mini synopsis; and writer’s bio.
The hook is one sentence, your tagline. Tell me what your book is about?
Mini synopsis is the back flap of your book. Read your favorite books or similar to your genre and read the back of the book to get ideas.
Bio is kept short and relevant to your writing. Education or jobs should only be mentioned if it applies to your story.
Thank the agent and advise them you will send full manuscript upon request.
Go to individual websites to get submission request. You do not need a cover letter just a one page query.
No form letters sent to agents. Show you did your research and you are picking a certain agent for a reason.
http://www.poisonedpenpress.com/ is a great website for mystery writers. They are currently running a contest. They are looking for new writers to publish. They are interested in a good voice and someone with a different voice.
When editing your manuscript read it out loud to someone. Your ears will pick up something your eyes may not have.
No prologue – it’s an industry no no.
Your first scene is very important; you have to jump right into the action. You want your readers to ask what happens next. The reader has to cheer for the main character. And you need a really good Villain. The pace should be like a movie. Think of Bruce Willis in Die Hard, would he be walking slowly through a country lane? No. Show action. Keep the readers on the edge of their seats.
A helpful website: http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/
One of the panelist mentioned that out of every 10,000 manuscripts only 3-4 are published. They stated this came from Wall Street Journal. After a little research I found an article that covered some of that information.
Wall street journal article on Jan. 22nd 2010 By KATHERINE ROSMAN -The death of the slush pile. Even in the web era, getting in their door is tougher than ever.
Harper Collins launched a website called a web slush pile. Writers could upload manuscripts, readers voted for favorites. About 10,000 manuscripts have been uploaded so far and they’ve only bought four.
A quote in the article I thought was pretty interesting:
“These days you need to deliver not just the manuscript but the audience," says Mr. Levine at Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. "More and more, the mantra in publishing is 'Ask not what your publisher can do for you, ask what you can do for your publisher.'"