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reenkam
06-07-2007, 12:48 AM
Okay, so there's a bunch of stuff I'm wondering about so I thought I might as well post here...Any help anyone could give me about any of my questions would be great!


How do you query multiple books to one agent at the same time? As in, how do you write your letter so that it makes sense?
When I query an agent about a MS, can I mention that it'd be part of a series, in a way? (It's kind of hard to explain...the first 4 books are seperate, but the 3 after that bring different characters from the first 4 together...how do I explain this without sounding insane?)
If you query an agent and they send a form rejection, can you query with another work? Or what if you just sent a crappy query? How long should you wait until you send another, if at all? (I did this yesterday...sent an old query without realizing. Got the form rejection 4 minutes later...)
If an agent asks for a full manuscript, do they usually write something back? Or do they just leave it and let the writer assume that it was passed on?
How do you get across in a query letter that it's been sent to multiple agents without making it too obvious? (as in "this is has been send to multiple agents") Is there a good way I can work this into the letter without making a big deal out of it?
In contact information of a query it obvious that you need Name, Address, Phone, Email. What about websites? Too much? (not sure if I'd do this, just wondering...)
How do you write a good synopsis? Or outline? Both, really...
If you intend to use a pseudonym when (hopefully) published, do you mention this in the query or do you just wait until a representation offer?Okay, I think that's good....any comments to any of the questions would be amazing. :)

scarletpeaches
06-07-2007, 12:56 AM
1. Depends in if you mean you have a bunch of books to offer or you have a projected series. I'd advise querying one book at a time - your best one.

2. Nothing wrong with saying your book is part of a projected series. You don't need to explain characters or future plots of books that haven't been written yet. You're querying one book, with an "Oh by the way, I plan to write others," to prove you're not a one-book wonder.

3. You can query the same agent as soon as your next book is ready. Note I said ready, which isn't the same as 'finished the first draft'.

4. I don't quite understand the question. Are you asking if an agent would contact you after receiving the full manuscript? If it's a yes or a no, of course they would. They don't leave you to assume anything.

5. Don't mention it. I never do. (Unless the agent specifies "I want to know if you're sending this to other people.") But then again, I have never submitted to an agent who wants to know if you're submitting to others. As far as I'm concerned, I don't owe you any loyalty until you offer me representation. None of your business what I do with my book.

6. Don't bother with websites. No one important will have the time to look at it anyway and even if they did, many unpublished writers' sites are amaturish. All you need is name, address, phone number and email address.

7. Same way you write a good book. Practice.

8. Wait until you get representation. Until then, possibly even until you're offered a publishing deal, no one cares what your name is.

Sandy J
06-07-2007, 01:02 AM
I'll see if I can help, but I'm still a bit of a newbie too.

Your query is probably best revolving around one story, but if you have a series, you should mention that it is the first in however many.

I don't think there's a problem querying an agent with a second story even if they've rejected your first.

If an agent asks for a manuscript, he/she will do one of three things. Ask for changes, pass, or accept. Some never respond at all.

There's no reason for agents to know how many other agents you are querying. Unless you've got an agreement that an agent has an exclusive until he/she decides, you are free to query anywhere and everywhere.

I would include websites in my signature line. Gives the agent an opportunity to get to know you a little better.

As far as synopsis, I'm still learning that myself. Lots of great advice on these threads. Do some investigating.

A query, IMHO, is too soon to be worrying about a pen name. One step at a time.

Hope that helps. :welcome:

ChaosTitan
06-07-2007, 03:01 AM
How do you query multiple books to one agent at the same time? As in, how do you write your letter so that it makes sense?

Don't. :) Every agent blog or website I've come across has asked that you query one project at a time. Sell the agent on one book, as Scarlet said, your best book.

When I query an agent about a MS, can I mention that it'd be part of a series, in a way? (It's kind of hard to explain...the first 4 books are seperate, but the 3 after that bring different characters from the first 4 together...how do I explain this without sounding insane?)

"This novel stands alone, but is part of a projected series." I've used this line, because it is very, very rare for a new writer to sell an agent on a series. It's even more rare for an agent to sell one to a publisher. They want a standalone novel, but there's nothing wrong with mentioning that it is part of a series. It lets the agent know you aren't just a "one book wonder," and plan to make a career of writing.

If you query an agent and they send a form rejection, can you query with another work? Or what if you just sent a crappy query? How long should you wait until you send another, if at all? (I did this yesterday...sent an old query without realizing. Got the form rejection 4 minutes later...)

Yes, you can query the same agent with a different work, but I'd wait a while. At least a month, if not longer. There are dozens and dozens of agents out there, so there's no reason to keep bombarding the same agent with different books.

It's possible that your project was turned down because of a bad query. It happens, but it's next to impossible to tell if it was a bad query or if the agent simply doesn't like the idea.

If an agent asks for a full manuscript, do they usually write something back? Or do they just leave it and let the writer assume that it was passed on?

Agents who request partials or fulls always (at least, in my experience) send a reply. Whether it is a contract or a rejection, they won't just let you linger in the ether without ever replying. Bear in mind, this can take several months to a year, depending on the agency.

How do you get across in a query letter that it's been sent to multiple agents without making it too obvious? (as in "this is has been send to multiple agents") Is there a good way I can work this into the letter without making a big deal out of it?

Unless the agent specifically says "no multiple submissions," most will assume that you are querying other agents. But be aware, some agents will request exclusive looks at partials or fulls. Unless this is your dream agent asking, it's rarely advisable to grant exclusivity. It means no one else can look at the manuscript until that agent either accepts or passes, and it could tie up the book for months.

In contact information of a query it obvious that you need Name, Address, Phone, Email. What about websites? Too much? (not sure if I'd do this, just wondering...)

Depends on the content of the website. If you have published articles or short stories, and the site lists those credits, it's a good idea to mention it. If all the website does is say "I'm an aspiring novelist and my mom says I've written the best novel ever," then don't.

How do you write a good synopsis? Or outline? Both, really...

That is the $64,000 question....

One method I've discovered that works well is to go through and write a one sentence (two max) description of each chapter. What happens? Who does it happen to? String those sentences together. Add a short description of the main character and main antagonist. Write it in present tense, in the voice of the novel.

A piece of advice I always see regarding a synopsis is to relate the action to the emotional reactions of the characters. "Luke Skywalker joins Obi-Wan on his quest after the tragic murder of his beloved aunt and uncle, leaving nothing for him on his home planet."

If you intend to use a pseudonym when (hopefully) published, do you mention this in the query or do you just wait until a representation offer?

I wouldn't bother mentioning it in the query. Use your given name. But on the title page of your manuscript, you can put "Written by, Sue Do Nym." It will sort itself out, but an agent won't base their decision to sign you on whether or not you want to use a pen name.

Good luck!

reenkam
06-07-2007, 03:38 AM
Thank you soo much for the reponses. They all helped a ton. I definitely feel a lot better about my stuff that's already out and my WIPs.

justpat
06-07-2007, 09:24 AM
How do you query multiple books to one agent at the same time? As in, how do you write your letter so that it makes sense? One query letter per manuscript, and you should probably send out one at a time anyway.

When I query an agent about a MS, can I mention that it'd be part of a series, in a way? (It's kind of hard to explain...the first 4 books are seperate, but the 3 after that bring different characters from the first 4 together...how do I explain this without sounding insane?) This sounds complicated, I wouldn't bother mentioning it yet.

If you query an agent and they send a form rejection, can you query with another work? Or what if you just sent a crappy query? How long should you wait until you send another, if at all? (I did this yesterday...sent an old query without realizing. Got the form rejection 4 minutes later...) They say you should only re-query if you have changed the book considerably. If you do query again, you should at least change the query letter and the title of the book.

If an agent asks for a full manuscript, do they usually write something back? Or do they just leave it and let the writer assume that it was passed on? They will let you know.

How do you get across in a query letter that it's been sent to multiple agents without making it too obvious? (as in "this is has been send to multiple agents") Is there a good way I can work this into the letter without making a big deal out of it? No need to mention it at all. If they think other agents have turned it down in the past, it will just bias their opinions.

In contact information of a query it obvious that you need Name, Address, Phone, Email. What about websites? Too much? (not sure if I'd do this, just wondering...) Certainly, include a website. Some agents will look at it, some won't. Either way it can't hurt.

How do you write a good synopsis? Or outline? Both, really... Thats the $1,000,000 question, and it certainly can't be answered with just a few sentences.

If you intend to use a pseudonym when (hopefully) published, do you mention this in the query or do you just wait until a representation offer? I don't know, but I doubt you need to include it in the query. Most of the time the query letters are too long anyway, so keep as much unimportant stuff out of it as you can. In case no one has told you, the letter should be no more than one page long

And, take a look at QueryTracker.net (http://QueryTracker.net), a great tool if you are ready to query.

jclarkdawe
06-07-2007, 10:07 AM
Okay, so there's a bunch of stuff I'm wondering about so I thought I might as well post here...Any help anyone could give me about any of my questions would be great!

How do you query multiple books to one agent at the same time? As in, how do you write your letter so that it makes sense? Never ever. The agent wants to see your best work. Even if you have two books that are absolutely wonderful, one is better.
When I query an agent about a MS, can I mention that it'd be part of a series, in a way? (It's kind of hard to explain...the first 4 books are seperate, but the 3 after that bring different characters from the first 4 together...how do I explain this without sounding insane?) Best approach is probably not to. Even when you say stand alone, the agent wonders. Focus on the one book that is your best, and mention that you have another (or two) books that you are editing. Later on when you've got the agent on the hook is when to start talking series.

If you query an agent and they send a form rejection, can you query with another work? Or what if you just sent a crappy query? How long should you wait until you send another, if at all? (I did this yesterday...sent an old query without realizing. Got the form rejection 4 minutes later...) Yes, but wait awhile. If you sent out a crappy query, you've just learned a life lesson and burnt a bridge. Oh, well, shit happens. If resubmitting the same book, the query (if rejected after just the query) needs to be so different the agent doesn't remember it and probably a year or more should pass.

If an agent asks for a full manuscript, do they usually write something back? Or do they just leave it and let the writer assume that it was passed on? Eventually.

How do you get across in a query letter that it's been sent to multiple agents without making it too obvious? (as in "this is has been send to multiple agents") Is there a good way I can work this into the letter without making a big deal out of it? None of their business until the request exclusivity. Then you work out a deal.

In contact information of a query it obvious that you need Name, Address, Phone, Email. What about websites? Too much? (not sure if I'd do this, just wondering...) Website can be a plus, if it doesn't take up too much space.

How do you write a good synopsis? Or outline? Both, really...Query letter hell can be used for your synopsis. Or the other forums in SYW.

If you intend to use a pseudonym when (hopefully) published, do you mention this in the query or do you just wait until a representation offer? For a pseudonym, my understanding is that on the title page of your manuscript, you list your real name (as in who gets the check) up top. Then, when you list the title, you put by pseudonym. Make sense?
Okay, I think that's good....any comments to any of the questions would be amazing. :)

Jim Clark-Dawe

NiennaC
06-09-2007, 03:41 AM
1. How do you query multiple books to one agent at the same time? As in, how do you write your letter so that it makes sense?

People have already mentioned this but: do not query for multiple books. Only query one at a time.

2. When I query an agent about a MS, can I mention that it'd be part of a series, in a way? (It's kind of hard to explain...the first 4 books are seperate, but the 3 after that bring different characters from the first 4 together...how do I explain this without sounding insane?)

I've asked this same question to a couple of people. Agent Jenny Rappaport has a post on it (http://litsoup.blogspot.com/2006/12/and-now-some-actual-content.html).

If you decide to mention it, just say that it's the start of a series and that the first book can be read as a stand alone. That way an agent knows you're writing more than one book, but that a random customer can buy just the first book and get a good, not cliff-hanger ending from it (agents and publisher's like this.)

3. If you query an agent and they send a form rejection, can you query with another work? Or what if you just sent a crappy query? How long should you wait until you send another, if at all? (I did this yesterday...sent an old query without realizing. Got the form rejection 4 minutes later...)

Generally, you can send again with a new work. They say you're not supposed to query about the same work (even if it's a new letter) to the same agent, but I know people who have and have had their first letter rejected and the second one gets a request for more. I guess it depends.

4. If an agent asks for a full manuscript, do they usually write something back? Or do they just leave it and let the writer assume that it was passed on?

From what I've heard, yes, they do.

5. How do you get across in a query letter that it's been sent to multiple agents without making it too obvious? (as in "this is has been send to multiple agents") Is there a good way I can work this into the letter without making a big deal out of it?

I just put a P.S. at the bottom of the letter stating that it's been sent to more than one person. More and more agencies require this and I don't know if it's a good idea to leave it out. It's just considered good, according to most lit. agent websites, to let them know that they're not the only one considering your work.

6. In contact information of a query it obvious that you need Name, Address, Phone, Email. What about websites? Too much? (not sure if I'd do this, just wondering...)

I think if you have a website you should mention it. Nathan Bransford (according to his blog) likes to go to websites of works he's considering. In fact, having a website is in his post about the "101 Things in Queries That Catch My Eye (Or At Least As Many As I Can Think Of)" (http://nathanbransford.blogspot.com/2007/03/101-things-in-queries-that-catch-my-eye.html). It's #17.

But, if you have a website you shouldn't just write: I am seeking representation for...go to my website for more. The agent most likely won't go for more and they'll be irked that you didn't just write a regular query.

7. How do you write a good synopsis? Or outline? Both, really...

There's lots of good info. out about this. I happen to like this article (http://www.sfwa.org/members/bell/tips-winter02.html) by Hilari Bell. Just do a google search for info. There are lots of articles on writing these things.

8. If you intend to use a pseudonym when (hopefully) published, do you mention this in the query or do you just wait until a representation offer?

I'd just wait until after you've snagged an agent, then mention it.