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MJRevell
07-10-2010, 03:35 AM
Hi there,

An agent I'd like to submit to said this:

Ideally include an introductory letter, synopsis and the first 3 chapters of manuscript.

Now -- what exactly is an introductory letter? I presume it's introducing myself, since the synopsis covers the rest -- and in that case, is it just another way of saying cover letter?

Perhaps I'm reading too much into it.

Ryan_Sullivan
07-10-2010, 03:38 AM
It's basically a query. You're best off treating it as such, and have the same synopsis sort of thing as you would regularly, as well as the technical details (word count, title, genre, etc), and a little bit about yourself. The actual synopsis will be much longer, and tells everything that happens--in your query, you just want to pique their interest.

BrooklynLee
07-10-2010, 04:22 AM
I suspect they want a query, then a synopsis, then the chapters, with the intention of reading the query first. If it piques their interest, then the go on to the synopsis. If that also is interesting, then they read the chapters. Then, if they are still interested, they want the full ms. So I would think of it as various ways of introducing them to the book -- the first letter is your query, your one page of brilliance to catch them and get them to move on to the synopsis.

Terie
07-10-2010, 10:06 AM
I suspect they want a query, then a synopsis, then the chapters, with the intention of reading the query first.

No, they don't want a query. They mean 'cover letter'. Which is essentially like a query, except that you don't have to include the couple of paragraphs about the story. It would look something like this:

Dear (Agent's Name),

Thank you for your interest in (Book's Title). Per your request, I've attached (or 'included' for hardcopy) the synopsis and first three chapters. The complete novel is (XX,000) words.

*** (see below for what else can be included here)

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,
(Your Name)
(Your Contact Details if sending by e-mail or if not using letterhead)

If you have publishing credits, include them where the asterisks are; if you don't, don't mention anything. DO NOT include things that aren't considered to be publishing credits, such as letters to the editor, stories in web zines that post pretty much anything they receive, and self-pubbed books.

If you have a professional-level website you can say, 'You can read more about me and my work at (www.mysitename.com).'

If you have relevant experience, you can include that. For example, if you're a lawyer who's written a legal thriller or an astrophysicist who's written a hard SF novel, say that. (If you're an astrophysicist who's written a legal thriller, no dice. LOL!) If your job is in corporate writing, it's not a bad idea to say that (it suggests that you're already a professional writer who's accustomed to being edited, dealing with deadline pressure, and so on). Otherwise, don't say anything.

These last three are nice, but if they don't apply, don't worry about it. The sample letter above is enough.

waylander
07-10-2010, 11:23 AM
Seconding what Terie said.
I presume that this is for UK agents

Danthia
07-10-2010, 07:04 PM
I suspect they want a query, then a synopsis, then the chapters, with the intention of reading the query first. If it piques their interest, then the go on to the synopsis. If that also is interesting, then they read the chapters. Then, if they are still interested, they want the full ms. So I would think of it as various ways of introducing them to the book -- the first letter is your query, your one page of brilliance to catch them and get them to move on to the synopsis.

Actually, I've read most agents read the synopsis only if the pages interest them first.

shaldna
07-10-2010, 09:52 PM
Thirding what Terie said.

MJRevell
07-11-2010, 08:32 PM
Thanks, all.

Phaeal
07-11-2010, 09:21 PM
Actually, I've read most agents read the synopsis only if the pages interest them first.

Yeah, if I was an agent, I'd read the sample first. No use wading through a synopsis only to find I can't stand the actual prose style or voice.