I'm on the hunt for good material, so I'm in my queries regularly, and requesting a lot more material than usual.
This is really good news for you since projects I might have previoiusly passed on at the query stage are now getting a longer look.
Some of you are shooting yourselves in the foot with an elephant gun. Stop it.
Here's what you're doing.
You've got an ok or so-so query. It's not bad, but it's not grip-the-lapels compelling. I think "hmmm, let me check the pages. And you don't have them, or you included a synopsis, or worse a brief synopsis.
It's 7am when I'm reading your query. I've got another 20 to go. I'm just as likely to hit the pass button as dig around for the pages.
There's a reason I ask for pages and ONLY pages. I want to see how the story starts. I want to see what the story IS. I want to hear the voice that's in the story.
A synopsis is by definition pretty dull. It's about the elements of the book, rather than the narrative. It doesn't have much voice. It's certainly NOT what I'd give someone to entice them to read the book (after all, that is exactly what a query is supposed to do.)
When an agent asks for pages include them. It's not a trick, it's not intended to see if you can follow directions, it's not a test. It's the only way I can see what your damn book is going to be.
If an agent wants a synopsis send that. Not all agents want the same thing. Sorry about that, I know it's a pain in the ass, but it's just one of those things you have to deal with.
PS: If any of you clever readers out there want to check my website/s
or other online sources that reference my submission guidelines and
verify that I ask for 3-5 pages in the body of the email, please go
ahead. If it's not clear I'd like to know, and a second hundred set of
eyeballs on something seems like a good idea.