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The Villi Phanatic
08-10-2009, 05:18 AM
I'm still checking out the various sub-forums (seems like an awesome site btw) but this seems like the right forum for this question. If this topic is more appropriate for another forum though, feel free to let me know (or mods, you can move the topic).

I have a particular chapter that I really like from my book and I think it showcases the humor and quirkiness my book is capable of. This chapter is in the middle of my book (chapter 22). After reading through the submission guidelines from a number of agents I'm considering submitting to, many request either simply a query letter or a query letter plus the first 10 pages.

Should I include this chapter with my query letter despite the submission guidelines specifying otherwise or should I simply send exactly and only what is requested? I like my first chapter and think its decent in its own right, but I feel very strongly about chapter 22 and think its entertainment value is high enough that it would elicit requests for my manuscript. I'd prefer to include it as a sample chapter along with my query letter but don't want to negatively affect my chances by not adhering to a given agent's submission guidelines.

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.

vixey
08-10-2009, 05:21 AM
I asked an agent this after she requested 3 chapters. Her answer was unequivocally send the FIRST 3 chapters. Based on subsequent experience that's the expectation. My guess is agents wants to see your beginning to see how you'll hook your readers.

ETA: Oh...forgot to say Welcome to AW!!! :)

Kitty Pryde
08-10-2009, 05:26 AM
I've read in two separate agent/editor blogs that sending anything but the first chapter (or first three chapters, whatever they ask for) is totally unacceptable. I believe the blogs were Editorial Anonymous and Miss Snark.

Chapter 1 MUST be great. Period. Ideally all of them should be awesome, but agent, editor, and reader all have to be wowed on page 1. If you send Chapter 22, an agent will think that a. you can't follow directions and b. your first chapter must be lousy. Both of these are bad.

escritora
08-10-2009, 05:28 AM
Should I include this chapter with my query letter despite the submission guidelines specifying otherwise or should I simply send exactly and only what is requested? I like my first chapter and think its decent in its own right, but I feel very strongly about chapter 22 and think its entertainment value is high enough that it would elicit requests for my manuscript. I'd prefer to include it as a sample chapter along with my query letter but don't want to negatively affect my chances by not adhering to a given agent's submission guidelines.

Many agents have covered this topic on their blogs. They all agree. Follow the submission guidelines.

Madisonwrites
08-10-2009, 05:43 AM
:hi:

Not following the submission guidelines puts you on the fast track of never getting an agent. Don't deliberatly put that stumbling block ahead of you. :e2bike2:

It's great that you feel that strongly about that chapter in your book, but do you feel like the rest of your book is up to specks with it? Obviously you are going to have your favorite part, but is this chapter great, with the rest being ho-hum? If so, then you are not ready to submit yet.

Submit the strongest possible work you can and always, always obey the agent's guidelines. That helps keep you out of the slush pile. :)

Now get out there and get your book sold! :e2dance:

Good luck and happy writing! :D

Oh, and sorry for the kinda long post. I like to talk :Lecture: and I :heart: the smilies! :Sun:

Cyia
08-10-2009, 05:58 AM
They want to start with what a reader will start with, because THAT's how they're going to know if it's worth reading more. First pages or first chapters. Period and only.

The Villi Phanatic
08-10-2009, 06:25 AM
Thanks for the replies and the welcomes.

I see what you guys are saying now and agree. Oh well, I really like chapter 22 but what are you gonna do? Just got to entice them enough with the first 21 chapters!

I actually like most of my book including my first chapter; it's just that I particularly like chapter 22 and the opportunities it provides for me to really mess around with the quirky and humorous aspects of my novel.

ORION
08-10-2009, 07:04 AM
Writing one good chapter is easy.
Writing thirty good chapters and a dynamite first one is hard.

CACTUSWENDY
08-10-2009, 07:15 AM
If they tell you to roll a pea across the White House lawn with your nose....do it.

Do and send only what they request.

Good luck with your search.

Danthia
08-10-2009, 05:12 PM
One thing to remember, is that you probably like chapter 22 because you know what came before, and that makes the chapter have meaning to you :) Reading it on its own with no context is going to be quite different.

ChaosTitan
08-10-2009, 06:35 PM
Oh well, I really like chapter 22 but what are you gonna do? Just got to entice them enough with the first 21 chapters!


Exactly. If the first 21 chapters aren't readable and interesting, it doesn't matter how good Chapter 22 is. The agent will stop reading once you lose their interest.

thethinker42
08-10-2009, 06:41 PM
If ever the second half of your question is "...or strictly follow submission guidelines", the answer is "strictly follow the submission guidelines". NOT following them is a very quick road to a form rejection.

Sage
08-10-2009, 07:10 PM
Always always always send from the beginning of the novel.

The Villi Phanatic
08-11-2009, 03:10 AM
One thing to remember, is that you probably like chapter 22 because you know what came before, and that makes the chapter have meaning to you :) Reading it on its own with no context is going to be quite different.

It's a moot point now but one of the reasons I liked chapter 22 so much as a promotional tool for my book is that it can be appreciated without any context (though I was planning on giving brief context in my query letter if I included this chapter).

scarletpeaches
08-11-2009, 03:13 AM
Sending anything other than what the agent asks for can be loosely translated as, "Dear Agent, I can't follow simple instructions and would be a nightmare to work with. Please reject me by return. Yours, Writer."

justAnotherWriter
08-11-2009, 06:35 PM
There is at least one agent that allows non-sequential chapters, but I don't remember who he or she is. This agent's guidelines ask for three sample chapter, at least one of which must be chapter 1.