Queries, Synopses and Agents, oh my!

The Voice was one of my favorite shows. (That’s past-tense because we were in the UK at the time and had ‘live’ tv which we will probably never have here in the US, cause I can do without the ads and cable news for like, forever.)

But really, my love for that show is all about the moment the chairs turn around. And you see the singer’s face light-up, because someone, besides friends and family who love him anyway, BELIEVES in him.

A minute ago this kid didn’t know if anyone would validate him. And now 4 celebrities are trying to out-name-drop each other or establish their credibility to get HIM to choose THEM. But I love the reversal of how the ‘who-is-this-person?’ person now has the choice.

So I was just a teeeeeensy bit reminded of this dynamic when I was looking at agents this week. Now, by no means am I holding all the cards, or any cards really, just some words I have poured myself into for the past few years, here and there. But I can identify with that vulnerability the people taking the stage on The Voice must feel.

I’ve always known I did not want to self-publish this book. But only recently have I, in earnest, started researching exactly what my next steps are if I want to be represented by a literary agent.

This is both a helpful and daunting article on writing a query letter. Helpful, because clear guidelines, examples and such…Daunting, because I now have to audition my novel and the audition is an audition in itself…If my writing and content for the letter aren’t great, the novel will never even get a look-in…so no pressure then!!

But searching for agents has turned out to be a fun diversion in the whole process….like internet dating of a different sort. There are hundreds of literary agencies out there, but only one of these people is going to, ultimately, work with me to get my book published (being positive here, folks!!). So I’m looking for someone who’s looking for me, my style of writing, a first-timer, my genre….don’t get me started on genres.

Some agencies are super-helpful and have great agent bios like this to help you suss out who to address your query to because I’m guessing very few of us would-be novelists have come face to face with the elusive literary agent.

And it was after reading MANY of these bios that I realized they need us too. They would be out of a job if it weren’t for us would-be novelists who write unsolicited material, tons of it, giving them words and words and stories to read and yes, mostly reject…but man, when the chair does turn…well, I hope to tell you what that’s like.

In the meantime, I’m trying to whittle my novel down to 3,000 words or less…I wonder if people self-publish to avoid writing a synopsis? I’ve read my book many times but when I come to write the synopsis, my mind completely blanks. It’s not new threads or plot twists I’m trying to create, just some simple recall. I never was great at reading comprehension though…something about how I translate words and actions into emotion and then remember the feelings rather than what caused them.