1. Query – They wanted only two paragraphs. I needed to create a hook so I had to do some pretty fancy footwork in that department. A good friend gave it a once over to help me feel more confident.
2. Synopsis – Even though they admitted no one enjoys writing these, the publisher explained that this would help them see the whole book in five to eight pages. I was encouraged to include any spoilers to give the overall big picture. “Don’t hold back,” they encouraged. Sometimes these are harder than writing the entire novel. If the publisher liked this part they would move on to the full manuscript.
3. Manuscript – It is the hope of any author that an editor or publisher will be so enthralled by your synopsis that they will dive right into your manuscript. As it was explained to me that would not necessarily be the case. Chances are good if they make it to the manuscript phase, the publisher would open up to several areas and read to get a feeling for the way I write. Considering I won’t know where exactly they’ll start reading, I knew I better make sure the synopsis didn’t leave them in the dark.
That’s it. All three of these things improved my work. Before I hit the send button I read the entire manuscript again with a keen eye to edits. It’s a better story now without all the “that didn’t make sense” parts. Having set it aside for a couple of months made me see things with new eyes. Writing the query and synopsis helped me zero in on what was important.
There’s always the chance of a rejection. It won’t be the first or last time. I feel that it was time well spent getting these three requirements ready for the next time I contact a publisher.