The Synopsis Synopsis

17 May

barton finkOne thing I have to finish in order to query agents (which yes, I am late doing, thanks) is write a short synopsis of my novel Coming After God.

It turns out, my book about a grief-stricken physicist who murders God is pretty difficult to summarize. A lot of stuff happens. So I’ve been sitting here for nearly three hours writing it, and it’s not ready yet.

Since the purpose of this blog is to get published, that’s going to count as an excuse not to write much else today. In theory I could write about the synopsis, but I can’t to show it to you, because you’re supposed to include spoilers in those things. I’d be telling you exactly how it ends, which apparently, agents want you to go ahead and do that.

I can, however, tell you what happened the last time I sent out agent queries, for another novel, Pleasant Moon.

The way it works is, you locate five agents who work with your genre. That was easy, Pleasant Moon is a crime novel – lots of agents like those.

So I found five and what I was told was, that normally you’ll get a form letter rejection. Thanks for the query, screw you and your dumb book, g’bye – that sort of thing. They even make you send them a self-addressed stamped envelope so they don’t have to waste postage.

Which is fine, I don’t blame them. The idea is, anything other than the form letter rejection is a good sign. Like sometimes they’ll handwrite a little note on the form letter which sound like polite girls rejecting your request for a date. “I love how it opens but I’m avoiding all first person manuscripts right now.” Etc.

AgentsAgain – cool. Nobody’s bagging on agents, they’re busy and nice and Tom doesn’t want any trouble with them.

But if one of them writes something like that, then cling to it like Gollum’s Ring, because it’s precious.

Most precious of all, of course, would be if they ask for the full manuscript. They read the five or ten or thirty pages you sent them, depending on what they requested, and then they ask for the rest. That’s the goal. And although sending out five at a time is pretty normal, if you query fifty agents and none of them have ever asked for the full manuscript, then that means your book’s probably not getting published.

So like I said, I sent out five, and I got one handwritten note – she loved “how snappy this is but I have a problem with casual violence.” Rough, because I think the protagonists kill about eleven cops and five civilians – it’s Crime Noire, dig?

And then two of the five asked to see the full manuscript! Pretty cool, right?

No, because I hadn’t been truthful about how long the book was. At 566 pages, it was too long for a first novel, they both told me, and they were both a little annoyed that I had tried to be slick about its length. I extra super promise not to do that again.

Anyway, then I never queried anyone else again. Instead, I just started writing something else, which is WAY more fun than marketing something you’ve already completed, but you don’t get published by writing novel after novel and then hiding them from any possibility of rejection. Hi, I’m forty years old.

Cool, now we’re trying again, with Coming After God, a newer, shorter, more blasphemous sci-fi novel. I’ll keep you posted.


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Posted by on May 17, 2013 in Writing/blogging


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