How to Prepare a Book Submission for Literary Agents – Part 2

Part 2 – Listing the Content you Will Need to Prepare

Once you have your shortlist of agents (see how to build your list in part 1) you would like to submit to, you must create a list of what they ask for in the first and second instances.

First Instance – Query Letter

Most agents do not accept submissions, they accept queries. They state in large bold letters WE DO NOT ACCEPT UNSOLICITED MATERIAL, or something of the kind.

But even these, sometimes, accept queries. This means they allow you to ask them if they want you to send them your material. I know, it feels like a begging process where they have all the strength and you have none, but don’t get discouraged, it is what it is and it is important to follow their rules to give you a chance to get through.

As you have seen in Part 1, I am willing, with boundaries, I won’t send my work to aggressive and grudging people, for example. But for the rest, my project deserves the best of me and I am happy to do what is necessary to get it out there. That means queries.

Each agent states what they want in their queries or with their queries. Sometimes they only want the Query Letter, sometimes they ask for a short summary or a few chapters of your book. Make a list of everything all of your agents want from you.

Second instance – Book Submission

From my research I have realised that if the agent likes your query letter and wants to see more, they want it straight away and that is not a simple matter.

Some of the agents will tell you what you should have ready if they want to see your book submission, it can be the full manuscript or part of the manuscript, it usually includes an author bio but they might ask for other book-related aspects.

Again, make a detailed list of what they might ask following. It is important to note that agents and agencies may have different demands if your project is fiction or non-fiction, screenplay or illustrated book. Make sure you note the right demands for your type of material.

Create two lists:

1) List by Agency

Agent Name

Agency

Country

  • Note if they want to receive a query or a direct submission

Query Letter

  • Email address or form-on-website address
  • Specificities about the subject line (yes, they are this detailed)
  • Note if the email is for a specific person/agent, if not, you need to add the agent name in the Subject Line
  • Any specificity of what the letter should contain
    • (e.g. a paragraph about the writer)
  • Specific demands that you fulfil
    • (e.g. that you are Australian for an agent that only represents Australian writers)
  • If they want or refuse attachments and want you to put everything in the body of the email

Submission

  • What you should have ready for the next stage, if they want to see a full submission

 

2) List by Material Needed

Separate what you need to have ready for the first and second instances. List everything all the agents are looking for and get to work.

 

See below an example of what my lists looked like.



1) List by Agency

Agent 1

Agency 1 – AU

Query

  • Form on the ‘contact’ page – https://………./submissions/
  • Pitch (query letter)
  • a paragraph about the writer
  • only represents authors residing in Australia or Australian expatriates

Submission

  • No info

——————————————————————————————————————————

Agent 2

Agency 2 – AU

  • Email to submissions@….
  • ADD name in the Subject of email “Attention …..”
  • No information on the query letter – send the proposal directly

Fiction proposal should contain:

  • Cover letter that contains
    • contact details, including email address
    • total word count of the manuscript
  • An indication of whether the manuscript has been submitted to any publishers/other agents (please note: we do accept that most authors make multiple or simultaneous submissions; however, we appreciate an indication of this from the outset)
  • A one-page synopsis – attachment
  • Approximately 30 consecutive pages – attachment
  • An author biography – attachment

——————————————————————————————————————————

Agent 3

Agency 3 – UK

Submissions

  • Email to ….@….
  • covering letter
  • the first thirty pages – attachment
  • a synopsis (shortest) – attachment
  • No information on the query letter – send the proposal directly

——————————————————————————————————————————

Agent 4

Agency 4 – USA

  • Email to  saraquery@ktliterary.com
  • Subject line including the word “Query” + the title of your manuscript
  • in the body of the email
  • first three pages of your manuscript
  • NO ATTACHMENTS
  • If asked to submit:
  • first five chapters
  • a complete synopsis
    • with full plot of the book including the conclusion
    • (longer one because they didn’t ask for the full manuscript)

——————————————————————————————————————————

Agent 5

Agency 5 – USA

  • Email to …@…
  • query letter initially
  • in the body of the email
  • NO ATTACHMENTS

Materials to have ready for submission:

  • The full manuscript
  • A full book proposal
    • Author Bio
    • Competition
    • Market (WHO will read the book)
    • Promotion (HOW readers will learn about the book)
    • Synopsis/Overview (one of the shorter ones because they asked for the full manuscript)

——————————————————————————————————————————

Agent 6

Agency 6 – USA

  • Email to …..@….
  • project query in the subject line
  • In the body of your email
  • query letter
  • first three chapters of your novel
  • short synopsis of the entire novel (Shortest)
  • NO ATTACHMENTS



2) List by Materials Needed

First instance – Query or Direct Proposals:

  • Query Letter must include:
    • contact details (incl. Address with Country)
    • Word count of book
    • If it was submitted to other agents
  • Subject must include:
    • The word Query
    • Title of Project
    • In attention of – if applicable

To be added to the body of the email:

  • First 3 pages
  • First 3 chapters
  • Short Synopsis (shortest)

Attachments

  • A one-page synopsis (MAKE IT FIT IN ONE PAGE)
  • Approximately 30 consecutive pages
  • An author biography
  • The First 30 pages

——————————————————————————————————————————

Second instance – To have ready for full submissions:

  • Submission letter (not the same as the query letter but reminding the agent of what it is about)
  • Attachments:
  • first five chapters
  • a complete synopsis (longer one because they didn’t ask for the full manuscript)
  • The full manuscript
  • A full book proposal
    • Author Bio
    • Competition
    • Market (WHO will read the book)
    • Promotion (HOW readers will learn about the book)
    • Synopsis/Overview (one of the shorter ones because they asked for the full manuscript)

——————————————————————————————————————————

Keep reading:

See how to get the material ready in part 3

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