Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday Night at the Question Emporium-lagniappe

1. OK, so an agent asks for a full manuscript. After the angels have stopped singing in my ear, I need to send it, with a letter. I know what goes into a query letter...the 100-200 word teaser, plus whatever the agent wants, e.g., first five pages, first chapter etc. What goes into the LETTER which accompanies the manuscript?

 For example,

 Dear Janet,
 Here it is.
 Call me.

  seems kind of terse.

 2. Related, should there be any kind of title page on the manuscript? Clearly, it's too early for the dedications. But should there be a standalone title page of any sort, and if so what goes on it? Or is it just at the top of the first page, "Chapter 1. It was a dark and stormy night..."

1. Assuming you're sending this via email, hit reply to the agent's request and in that email say  pretty much what you wrote there.  Terse is fine really.

But I know you can't do that without wriggling with discomfort so what you can do is ADD under the terse paragraph, a sentence that says something like "here's the pitch again in case you need it" and you repeat the pitch portion of your query.

This newfangled interwebz allows us to sort and link email so it's easy to see what you sent before.

1A.  IF however you are sending this by paper and carrier pigeon, writ in the blood sweat and tears of your own fevered hand, yes you need a cover letter.  And it says pretty much what you've suggested: Thanks for requesting my manuscript.  Here's a bit about it to refresh your memory, and you repeat the pitch portion of the query letter.

2. I prefer the title and the author's name just above the start of the chapter. I'm reading on a Kindle, and most other agents are reading electronically. 

Mo Toles

It was a hot and steamy day followed by a dark and stormy night at Exit One.

Certainly leave out what we call front matter: dedications, acknowledgments, copyright (!!!!) etc.
Do not leave out your name.


Michael Seese said...

As always, thanks 1,000,001.

Anonymous said...

Janet: I am told getting published requires ten (10) per cent talent and nienty (90) percent determination. I don't doubt this...

Eric Steinberg said...

Janet, follow-up question to your remark about a preference for title, name, with chapter 1 immediately below.

Where is the appropriate place for your contact information (name, address, email, etc.)? Or is it not necessary if it's in the email signature? Thanks!

Scribble Orca said...


Despite lurking in the internet depths, this post has lured me into the shark's waters.

Thank you for this timely post, I have been sweating profusely after I received a request for a partial (by email) and I responded in kind with all 65 pages in a .docx attachment. Without a title page.

So if you have previously corresponded with a querier and asked for a partial and that arrives as an attachment in your inbox, do you open it or should it be resent in the body of the email?

I hope you are enjoying your chum(p) bucket reading and a glass of something inebriating.

Thanks again.