Saturday, January 31, 2015

Polish and Dust your MS before Submission

When sending a query to a literary agent or a publisher who doesn't require a lit agent, make sure it is your best presentation. I can't stress this enough, however, it amazes me that I need to mention it at all.
Trust me on this, a query letter isn't two lines long that basically says "go look at the attachments" with an attitude that you are doing me a favor. You aren't doing me a favor. Seriously, you're not.
There is tons of information about writing a synopsis on the Internet and I've mentioned how to write one many times on this blog.

Out of idle curiosity, I might look at a synopsis even if the query is lacking, but I won't look at the sample chapters if the synopsis doesn't grab me. (A word to the wise on that.) I think Judith is better at looking at sample chapters that I wouldn't bother to read. In the end, if we both don't love-love your work, then we cut bait and move the boat.
We request that submissions are sent in MS Word. The first thing that I do is turn on the "show/hide" feature to see if you know how to use the software. This isn't a typewriter, so don't tab or spacebar the title to the center of the page; use the feature that centers the line. It is basic that there is only one space between sentences. Paragraph indents are made with the tab button, not a random number of spaces.
The sample chapters cannot read like a first draft. While I can content edit and fix any ms, I don't want to spend that kind of time on a sloppy ms. Whether it is true or not that a sloppy ms reflects on the nature of the writer, I think that it does.
We get enough good queries that we don't have to accept messes.
A query is a business proposal for Cactus Rain to fund your book. CRP is not a charity. We are a business. Our kids don't cop an attitude and we don't work with people who do. It is that simple.
If you believe in your work with a writer's passion, we will notice. Make yourself proud, present your best work. Good luck and write right.

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