Submission Packet .. What is it and why should you be working on it?
A submission packet is a group of files you’ll be glad you took the time to do.
A Submission Packet includes the following –
• A Query Letter
• You will want to include 2 synopsis files.
A Synopsis of about 1600 words
A Longer Synopsis of about 800 words
• Sample Chapters (1-3) or 50 pages
• A Cover Letter
You may want to write your synopsis first.
A synopsis is your novel’s plot told though one character’s eyes. This should be presented in the present tense and in 3rd person.
It does not matter that your novel has been written in first person past tense or that you have many plotlines and character viewpoints.
Choose the Main Plot and the Best Character to tell the story.
Start the synopsis with a hook, a first main event. Include the most important plot elements. Stick to the important points. Tell how the story ends.
Write the first Synopsis using about 1600 words. Then rewrite it cutting the word count by half.
This will give you a long and short synopsis.
After you have tucked the Synopsis files away in an easy to find folder, start your query letter.
A Query Letter can be distilled into a Hello I have this – are you interested?
Use the information you just finished up writing in your synopsis.
Think about the first part of the query letter as a blurb.
Read the blurbs for the books you find online. Go to a bookstore if you still have one nearby and read the book jackets.
A query letter is not a synopsis and needs to be kept to a single page.
Your cover letter is one you will send while buzzed about the reply to your query. The Editor or Agent wants to see your work. You will be glad you have this one ready to go.
You’ll want to follow the guidelines to the letter. You should begin by indicating someone asked for your sample chapters or full on manuscript. You will know who to address so use that name and address.
A cover letter ‘covers’ your submission.
It doesn’t need to be epic long.
With the Synopsis, Query Letter and Cover Letter you’ll want to have three chapters or the first 50 pages ready. The whole manuscript is very important as well. The Manuscript is the Product you offered to the submissions officer and if you are a new author you should darn well have this final revision ready and waiting.
The there are more odds and ends you should be ready for.. with your submission packet ready and waiting it won’t be such a head spin when the other pesky things come your way.
There will be a contact to sign and more forms to fill out.
Maybe you already sent your sample chapters with the query letter because the guidelines asked for it or maybe you will be sending chapters with the cover letter. But with the cover letter, most of the time, you will be sending the full manuscript.
In any event, somewhere along the line you’ll find yourself answering questions you never saw coming. Take your time and answer them fully because it helps the cover artist, publisher and your assigned editor.
There will be formatting issues to address. These guidelines will probably come with the request for the whole manuscript. Sometimes these can be very hard to follow, especially if your word processor is different than the publisher uses.
You will be one step ahead and able to relax and enjoy the ride if you have most of this prep work done ahead of time.