It’s time to polish that manuscript, tighten up your synopsis and write that pesky query letter! You have one month to prepare as our general submissions open November 1st, 2018. We’re getting ready to read and review all the manuscripts that come in and I have a feeling that the competition will be fierce this year. So if you’re looking for ways to improve your chances of getting our attention, you’re in the right place. I’m going to give you a clear description of what we’re looking for and try to offer some tips and tricks for you to take advantage of at the same time.
Here’s what we want you to send.
Your Query Letter
We’ve talked about query letters before, here. Very simply, this should be no more than a page and should include the following information stated as clearly and concisely as possible:
- The working title
- Your name (and pen name if you are using one)
- The length, preferably as a word count (and number of images if applicable)
- The format (novel, novella, picture book, etc.)
- The genre
- The target audience
- THE HOOK, a short description of what your project is about.
- Your bio- just a bit about you, where you’re from and what your writing accomplishments are.
If we are missing the information we need to review your manuscript, you will receive a very polite response telling you so. We will not review your submission until we have enough information to get a sense of what we’re looking at and we may ask you to re-submit with all the details we need.
We have written about synopsis before, here. Your synopsis should be no more than one page. The synopsis should be a concise summary of your manuscript that tells us the following information:
- What is your story about?
- Where is the story set?
- Who are the main characters?
- What motivates the main characters?
- What is the inciting incident?
- A few highlights of ‘what happens in the story’
- Does the story have a satisfactory ending?
You don’t need to list every single character, or setting, or plot point, but you do need to show us your story arc and how it ends. A synopsis is an overview, not a play-by-play.
Your first three chapters (or an equivalent sample)
We’ve talked about this here. Here’s where you really need to shine. This is your chance. Here’s what we’re looking for:
- A strong and compelling opening line
- A strong and compelling opening paragraph
- A strong and compelling opening scene
- Quality writing
- Interesting characters, a believable world
- A compelling narrative voice
- Something that makes us want to keep reading, to turn the pages and to want more.
The best ways to stand out from the slush pile is to:
- Provide us with everything we need. Make it easy for us.
- Make your HOOK compelling.
- Show us your writing style and quality in everything you send.
- Write a killer opening. I can’t overstate this. I’ve talked about it here and here.
- Draw us in to your story. Hold our attention. Make us want to know what happens next.
- Make your writing as smooth and as strong as possible. Have it edited, where possible.
- Give us something we want to see: Follow our submission guidelines and don’t send us a genre we’re not interested in.
Thanks for reading, and we look forward to reading your submissions starting November 1st!