I put a final coat of polish on my MS and am ready to start querying. But I have a question about prologues. It seems like everyone hates prologues. Even on your site you say that you want the first 3-5 pages of chapter 1, not the preface or prologue. Should I follow that rule for all my queries or just from the agents who explicitly tell me to start with chapter 1?The prologue isn't long, maybe 100 words or so, and though I think it adds a nice bit of setup, I definitely don't think it's worth aggravating the agent over.
The fewer pages you're asked to include with your query, the less likely you should be to include the prologue.
I ask for 3-5 pages. That's 750-1250 words. If you want to use 12-15% of your page allotment with a prologue, be my guest.
I've never rejected anyone because they included a prologue.
I have passed on HUNDREDS of manuscripts because I had no sense of the story in the pages.
Even ESSENTIAL prologues give depth and resonance to the whole story. Agents don't have the whole story at this point.
If the agent asks for 20 or 50 pages, the prologue drops to 5% or less of the content.
You're safer here.
I'm actually thinking of upping the page count for a query because so many people start their books in the wrong place.
20 pages embedded in an email is going to be a huge pain though.
I'm probably going to need to rethink format.
That odd sound you hear is me thinking. Pay no attention unless you smell smoke.