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ScribeLady
06-08-2011, 10:15 PM
An agent has responded to my novel query requesting a "proposal,", plus three chapters. I'm assuming she means a synopsis. Is that correct? Should I just go ahead an send her a synopsis, plus 3 chapters, or should I ask her about this? I hate to burden an agent with a lot of back and forth.

ScrbeLady

kellion92
06-08-2011, 10:48 PM
That sounds right -- send synopsis and three chapters. She was probably in NF mode at the time.

scope
06-08-2011, 11:35 PM
Some agents ask for a proposal rather than a synopsis. I'm sure you know they are completely different, with a proposal being longer and including many more items. I'm sure the agent knows the difference, and if she is asking for a proposl I assume that's what she wants. But if you want to be sure, contact her (or the office) and verify.

ScribeLady
06-08-2011, 11:58 PM
So, what in the world is a proposal relative to a novel? Never heard of this. Is she referring to a marketing proposal? I'm mystified.

Scribelady

Bushrat
06-09-2011, 12:41 AM
I'd ask her. Better than have twenty people second-guessing what she could mean :)

areteus
06-09-2011, 12:57 AM
In my experience of this (limited, I admit) a synopsis is purely a description of the plot and characters of the novel. A proposal is a more comprehensive document which also includes how you plan to help the publisher market the novel - do you have a blog, facebook, twitter, an author page etc (a lot of publishers and agents are interested in these not only for the stated reason of you using them for marketing but also because they like to check out potential authors by stalking them on the internet - are you likely to be difficult? Are you likely cause a stir if they reject you? And so on.)

There is also an element of business plan and expectations and so on.

When I did this for a joint anthology project, all the authors involved had to put together a brief (back cover length) synopsis of their story, a biography and a list of all the internet presences they were willing to share.

I am sure there are other ways of doing this as well and I agree that you need to ask to make sure.

kellion92
06-09-2011, 01:02 AM
Just curious -- who is the agent? Do they sell much fiction?

scope
06-09-2011, 03:21 AM
Although I have a proposal and will tell you about the broad-strokes, I think you should take Bushrat's suggestion and call (or email) the agent and ask her exactly what she would like.

1. cover page
2. toc
3. overview of book
4. specifations of book
5. market
6. my platform (specifically what I will do to bring attention to book
& help sales
7. competition
8. boiography
9. published books
10. chapter outline

My proposal runs 20 pages.

Proposals are more common to nonfiction but not unheard of for fiction.

Good luck.

ScribeLady
06-09-2011, 04:51 AM
Just curious -- who is the agent? Do they sell much fiction?

I re-checked her website and none of the books she promotes are fiction. She also does a lot of "selling" - writing retreats, classes, etc.

Checked her out on Agent Query, she claims she handles fiction. Also claims that she does not accept unsolicited queries.

I checked her out on P & E and there's a notation in red letters beside her name: "Editing Advisory" -- whatever that means.

Also checked her out on Absolutewrite -- some people questioned her promotion of classes, etc., but some comments were favorable.

She's not a member of AAR.

Scribelady

kellion92
06-09-2011, 05:08 AM
If I thought she was the right agent, I'd write a proposal. If I was not too sure, I'd send a synopsis and chapters, but I wouldn't jump through hoops.

That's me though. I'm ornery.

ScribeLady
06-09-2011, 06:20 AM
The type of proposal outlined by Scope is exactly what is typical for a non-fiction book and totally atypical for a novel. I happen to think it's presumptuous of an agent to make a request like this.

Scribelady

IceCreamEmpress
06-09-2011, 08:04 PM
"Editing Advisory" on P&E means, to the best of my recollection, that the agent refers rejected submitters to for-pay editing services.*

She doesn't sound like the right agent for your project if she doesn't generally represent fiction (even apart from the "Editing Advisory" business).

There are agents who do represent fiction who ask for proposals now, but they each have their own idea of what a fiction proposal should be and it is never exactly the same (to my knowledge) as a non-fiction proposal.

This agent sounds a bit out of her field in considering your fiction MS.

*Just to be clear: I am, as some of you may remember, a freelance editor (among other gigs). I get referrals from agents. However, the referrals I get are for accepted clients, not for rejected clients (generally people whose primary career focus is not writing--chefs, doctors, law enforcement officials, etc.)

Jamesaritchie
06-09-2011, 09:13 PM
Any agent who asks for a novel proposal either has no clue what she's doing, or is confusing a synopsis/outline with a proposal. Either way, she's someone to avoid.

PinkAmy
06-09-2011, 09:58 PM
I'd ask her. Better than have twenty people second-guessing what she could mean :)

Agreed. For your sake I hope she doesn't mean a proposal like one you'd do for non-fiction. My proposal took me longer than the first draft of my memoir.

Jamesaritchie
06-10-2011, 03:09 AM
Whatever she means, it's wrong, and a bad, bad sign.

scope
06-10-2011, 09:06 AM
Any agent who asks for a novel proposal either has no clue what she's doing, or is confusing a synopsis/outline with a proposal. Either way, she's someone to avoid.

James,

I don't think that's correct. In the last year or two I've noticed that some fiction agents are asking for a proposal. I doubt they want a nonfiction type of proposal (as I outline above), but I have no idea what they want. I guess the best thing to do is ask.

ScribeLady
06-10-2011, 09:04 PM
Even though I'm skeptical about this request for a novel proposal, I did send her a synopsis and three chapters. Also asked her what information she looks for in a novel proposal.

If she responds, will let you all know what she wants. There's a "edit advistory" in red letters after her name in P&E. Obviously, not a good sign.

I tend to avoid those rare agents who have persnickety requirements, necessitating that a writer jump through hoops.

Scribelady

soccerloves101
06-11-2011, 07:13 PM
Ask specifically before you send, just to be clear. You never know what can happen these days

ScribeLady
06-16-2011, 07:06 PM
Even though I'm skeptical about this request for a novel proposal, I did send her a synopsis and three chapters. Also asked her what information she looks for in a novel proposal.

If she responds, will let you all know what she wants. There's a "edit advistory" in red letters after her name in P&E. Obviously, not a good sign.

I tend to avoid those rare agents who have persnickety requirements, necessitating that a writer jump through hoops.

Scribelady

Anyhow ... This agent responded to my synopsis and three chapters with a rejection. I did ask her what she was looking for in a proposal relative to a novel when I sent her my chapters and synopsis.

Scribelady.