Friday, 10 August 2012

Synopses and Letters to Agents

You put the final full stop on your manuscript that you are sure you have polished and polished to within an inch of its life and, therefore, you are now ready to send it out to prospective agents and publishers, when it hits you - BAM! You have to go through that tortuous process of writing the synopsis and the all important agent/publisher's letter. We all know how important it is to get these right because they are both things that can encourage said publisher or agent to look at your manuscript. The pressure is on.

However, help is at hand, Nicola Morgan has recently publishes her latest book Dear Agent. It is available for download in various places including Amazon. This is the latest in Nicola's collection of books aimed at helping the aspiring writer. She has also written Write to Be Published  and Write a Great Synopsis. I would recommend every single one of them and do so quite frequently. She offers sensible advice that is easy to follow. You still have to do the writing but Nicola, very cleverly, makes you feel like she is holding your hand as you go through the process. She makes you stop and think, asking questions of yourself and your writing. She is reassuring yet realistic in her approach. In Dear Agent Nicola gets down to specifics, for example there are chapters on your introductory paragraph, the hook paragraph, the wonderfully named cook paragraph - which is where your self - and then the final paragraph. All of which make you think very carefully about you and your manuscript and what information you want to get across. This along with Write a Great Synopsis backs up what she said in Write to Be Published but they also go into more detail. Using Nicola's books all together and following her advice means that you are well prepared when it comes to sending out that precious manuscript. It is well worth following her blog too, which is full of useful tips and ideas:

Why should we believe what Nicola Morgan says I can hear you ask? It is quite simple, because she knows what she is talking about. As well as her non fiction, Nicola has written numerous excellent pieces of fiction. Her book, Wasted, is a perfect example and a book I used in my PhD research. It was also a book I used in one of my modules where the students where expected to do an author study. Nicola was incredibly generous with her time and willingly gave the students so much information. They were absolutely thrilled and took so much away from the encounter. I have recently downloaded her book Mondays are Red and am looking forward to getting into that too.

Here's Newton Faulkner's Pulling Teeth because sometimes writing feels like that, plus it comes from a new favourite cd:

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