FOR MULTI-POV SPECIFICS, SCROLL DOWN FOR “MULTI-POV SPECIFICS”

  1. Write a story idea that isn’t toxic (no bury your gays, no white savior, no being third-generation American white person with no immigrant background beyond right-wing television entertainment and writing brown immigrant, no “inspirational” fat/disabled/etc. person, etc.).
  2. Make sure you, as a debut writer, are following the rules. Read a few books like yours. You do not get to break the rules until you prove you can sell books. (I don’t make the rules. I just know of them.)
  3. Have smart writer people who are not related to you read your book…

FOR MULTI-POV SPECIFICS, SCROLL DOWN FOR “MULTI-POV SPECIFICS”

  1. Write a story idea that isn’t toxic (no bury your gays, no white savior, no being third-generation American white person with no immigrant background beyond right-wing television entertainment and writing brown immigrant, no “inspirational” fat/disabled/etc. person, etc.).
  2. Make sure you, as a debut writer, are following the rules. Read a few books like yours. You do not get to break the rules until you prove you can sell books. (I don’t make the rules. I just know of them.)
  3. Have smart writer people who are not related to you read your book…

Queries are hard. Some problems with them are easy to solve. Others are harder. Below are three hard query problems and how you (or I) can solve them.

Problem: bait and switch

Sample query concept:

“Jeremy has a problem: His head is too big. He keeps breaking his hats. But really, that’s not the real problem. The real problem is that his boyfriend might be cheating on him with the vice principal’s cousin, who drives a Ferrari. But really, that’s not the problem either. The real problem is — ”

Who gives a shit, by that point? Are you even still reading, or have…

[an intro that just delays you from getting the information you want]

  1. Remember what got you here: Most people never write a book. You accomplished something. Have you celebrated? You should.
  2. Make an email account for only queries. This will save you from getting your hopes up when your phone dings, you think an agent has requested pages, and you find your cousin Beth is yet again spamming the family with more pseudoscience about the pandemic, such as that horseshit about iodine curing anything. (Beth, get the shot. Nobody is looking to microchip you. …

*It might not take that many, but it’ll feel like it.

Queries are hard. I wrote about why here. Synopses, though.

Synopses.

A query is 250 words of pitch and 80ish of nonpitch.

Most synopses that I get asked to work start out in the 1,400-word range. If you have to cut to fit a page, you have to basically halve that document.

As the French say, owie.

The best way to halve a document when you can’t play with formatting is to jackhammer paragraphs out. But when I’m working my own synopsis, I can’t have that vision immediately because…

FOR MULTI-POV SPECIFICS, SCROLL DOWN FOR “MULTI-POV SPECIFICS”

  1. Write a story idea that isn’t toxic (no bury your gays, no white savior, no being third-generation American white person with no immigrant background beyond right-wing television entertainment and writing brown immigrant, no “inspirational” fat/disabled/etc. person, etc.).
  2. Make sure you, as a debut writer, are following the rules. Read a few books like yours. You do not get to break the rules until you prove you can sell books. (I don’t make the rules. I just know of them.)
  3. Have smart writer people who are not related to you read your book…

Step 1: Join Twitter

(This is generally a bad idea unless you hate free time, love being frustrated with everything, always type perfectly and enjoy reading about awful things happening while being unable to help anyone fix any part of them.)

Step 2: See the word PitMad

VERY IMPORTANT: IF YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT THIS IS, DO NOT LOOK IT UP!

DO NOT!

DO NOT SHOW INITIATIVE!

FORGET EEEEEEEEEEEEEVERYTHING YOU EVER LEARNED ABOUT BEING A FUNCTIONAL EIGHT-YEAR-OLD (or even … older)!

INSTEAD:

Step 3: Ask what PitMad is.

And learn! Laziness FTW! Sept. 2 — a nice, round number.

You’ve polished your query.

You’ve written and rewritten and gashed and sliced and crushed and minced and salt-and-peppered (and baked at 400 degrees for 35 minutes: serves one agent, ideally) your pitches. You have one of these formats for each:

  1. COMP X COMP [or situation/noun/etc.]

Character is in situation. But when X happens, character must decide whether to do one thing or the other. #hashtags

2. COMP X COMP

a thing

another thing

ooh, a third thing

a complex thing

stakes/how they tie together

You’ve scheduled each tweet (I recommend having one be early because of this).

Your synopsis is…

I edited eight queries last night. Hard work. Wonderful work. Below is basic advice for not getting form rejected for an easy-to-fix problem:

Include age range. If the agent doesn’t know they rep it, they’ll pass. Middle grade, young adult, adult. Also, New Adult does not exist in traditional publishing, so don’t use it if you want to be traditionally published.

Include genre, and ensure the metadata/about-this-book genre matches the pitch genre. You say you wrote a fantasy, but where’s the fantasy? If the genre in the metadata paragraph doesn’t match the pitch, what genre is anything? Fantasy queries should…

Patrick Hopkins

I write mostly data-driven stuff.

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