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Conference Prep–A Quick Review Part 2

Thursday, June 12, 2008

As promised, here is a review of posts on following up and preparing your requested submission.

Following Up After Pitching
Follow-up after a pitch session is very important, whether you’re asked to submit or not.

Networking: Stumbling Block #2–Communication—Have you ever considered taking your thank-you notes to the conference with you and mailing them from the hotel as soon as your pitch session is over?

Networking: Stumbling Block #3—Following Up—How long should you wait after the conference to follow-up with either a thank-you note or a submission? Can you contact the editor later even if they didn’t request a submission?

Networking Refresher–When Did We Stop Sending Notes?—Sure, e-mail correspondence is easy, but a hand-written note shows that you’ve taken time and effort with your communication.

Preparing Your Submission
Ah . . . what a wonderful feeling! You’ve received a request to submit from an editor or agent. But then you get home and you start to second-guess yourself. What if it’s not good enough? I still need to do lots of work on it before it’s ready. As I told Sharon on the ACFW forums the other day—editors and agents don’t ask to see your stuff out of the goodness of their hearts. They ask for a submission because they see promise in what you’ve pitched to them. If they can see the potential through a one-sheet or verbal pitch, they’ll be able to see it through a submission’s rough edges. You have NOTHING to lose if you submit. If you let the opportunity pass you by, you could possibly be losing your only chance with that editor or agent. I forget where I saw it, but somewhere in the last couple of days, I read that editors and agents say that they receive less than half of the submissions they request at conferences. Those are odds in your favor. So get that requested submission in!

A standard submission is a cover (query) letter, full synopsis, and first three chapters (or thirty or fifty pages, whatever the editor/agent requested).

Beyond the First Draft—The Query Letter—While a requested submission isn’t really a “query,” the same format is used for a cover letter with a submission as is used for a query. Article links to a sample letter.

Beyond the First Draft–The Dreaded Synopsis—We all hate writing them. So here are some pointers I’ve gleaned through the years on what the dreaded synopsis should include. Links to samples of both a short and a standard-length synopsis.

What’s the Big Deal about First Lines?—Does your first page start off with a bang? Make sure that the chapters you’re submitting catch the editor’s/agent’s attention immediately.

Critical Reading: The First Date—Editors and agents are professional critical readers. Here are some of the questions they may be asking when looking at your submission.

Hooking the Reader: The Character Investment—Make sure that your character(s) hooks the editor/agent immediately. Poor character development is a big turn-off and almost a guaranteed rejection.

Hooking the Reader: Scene Two, Take Five—It isn’t just the first page that needs to hook the reader. Make sure you carry that through the entire submission . . . and choose an ending point that’s going to leave them wanting to see more!

Writing the Romance Novel: You’ve Written It, Now What? (Guest Blogger Rebecca Germany)—Barbour Senior Fiction Editor Rebecca Germany gives a little insight on what an editor looks for in a submission.

2 Comments
  1. Thursday, June 12, 2008 7:26 am

    Oh, I’m rushing to get ready for conference I’m attending today. I’ll be back to check all this great stuff out!

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  2. Thursday, June 12, 2008 10:37 am

    Handwritten notes really are the best. They say something about who you are. That said, I don’t do nearly enough of them.

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