What is a Submission Packet and Why Do I Need One?
You have your novel written, revised, revised, edited, revised again, already. Now, you want to start looking for a publisher. Your words need a home.
Authors need to have a Submission Packet. The infamous Query Letter is only the start of this Packet. The following components go into a file on or off of your computer called the Submission Packet.
- The Query Letter
- The Submission Synopsis
- Sample Chapters
- The Cover Letter
- The Manuscript
The Query Letter
Most of us know about the query letter. There are as many how-to sites for writing query letters as there advertisements on the Home Shopping Network.
The Submission Synopsis is not a plot summary of your novel. The synopsis uses a specific form. They are written in the present tense even though the novel may be written in past tense. It follows a single viewpoint character through the plot. This may seem restrictive if you have a novel containing three story lines and seven POV characters. The synopsis also uses the third person even though your novel might be telling itself from the first person perspective. You have to tell how your novel ends. This is not a burb or a hook. You should have a long and a short synopsis in your packet.
The Submission Synopsis should follow these guidelines.
- Single or Double Spaced with 1 inch margins and numbered pages.
- Present tense.
- Third Person.
- Begin with a strong hook.
- Follows a single viewpoint character to the end.
- Mention the VP character’s motivations or goals.
- Follow the story chronologically from beginning to ending.
- Sticks to essential plot elements.
- Uses a dramatic tone and presentation.
- Always includes the ending.
You will want to include sample chapters in your Submission Packet file. Some publishers ask for 3 chapters. I’ve submitted the first 50 or almost 50 pages. These three chapters don’t have to be from the start of your book. But the first three chapters might do the work of hook setting and you never want to make anyone in the publishing house work to catch onto your plot.
The Cover Letter
This is not a Query Letter. The Query Letter is part of the Submission Packet Files. On a time-line, we’d Query first. When asked for more we go back into our Submission File for the other documents.
The cover letter accompanies the other items in your file. It reminds the publisher that the contents of the package were indeed requested.
You should include your hook again and itemize what you have included in the package they just opened on their desk or computer.
Your manuscript should be formatted in a traditional way. Submission guidelines will help you out. If only chapters were requested, do not include the full manuscript.
Why do you need to have a Submission Packet?
Because it makes you an efficient writer. It saves time. It sets you up for success. Put in time on these files and you won’t have to scramble when the agent or publisher gives you the nod. With all of these things tucked away and ready to go you can start on your next project because nothing sells a first book better than a second book.
This is the end of my post about Submission Packets.
Don’t touch anything sharp.
Submission Packet Contents
The Query Letter
The Submission Synopsis
The Cover Letter