Pitching the Novel – Agent Query Draft #7; Synopsis Draft #4; Manuscript Draft #8

The POTUS and Ms. Maroney are not impressed with your pitch.

The POTUS and Ms. Maroney are not impressed with your pitch. Photo by Pete Souza.

I’ve been re-drafting and cleaning up my query, synopsis, and novel quite a bit in preparation to pitch my book.

With my first writers’ conference coming up next month, I want to focus on improving all my pitch materials to get some feedback from fellow writers and other folks in the industry. My stuff needs to be awesome before mid-September (or at least awesome-ish).

Over the last month or so, I’ve made a few observations which taught me (or reinforced) the following lessons:

1. You cannot write a good query without first having written a proper synopsis.

Alright, maybe you can, but it’s very unlikely. I found that after revising my book numerous times and writing multiple synopses for it, I was much better able to condense the more-interesting bits of my novel into the form of an agent query.

If you can’t condense your work into two pages and make it sound interesting, how can you possibly condense it into half a page?

If I may say so myself, my current query is many times superior to my original. I’m not surprised the six agents I queried sent me rejections (yeah, I only sent queries to six agents; that was about a month and a half ago). Well, four of them sent rejections, the other two just ignored me altogether.

2. Your work will never be good enough for you.

Every time you read through your manuscript, query, or synopsis, you will inevitably spot a bunch of things to be improved.

However, this doesn’t mean you should just say “@#$% it” and submit it to agents as is. It means you should revise repeatedly for a “reasonable” amount of time until things are very solid (maybe draft 7 of the query, draft 4 of the synopsis, and draft 8 of the manuscript), but don’t wait until you think it’s perfect.

There is no perfect (unless you’re somewhat delusional). Continue reading