The impossible job

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by Tim Burdick on 19 October, 2014

So, you have finished your latest novel, had it edited and polished to perfection. Now how do you do to get it published? Alert the press? Send a copy to the New York Times?

Sadly, now the real work begins.

You visit millions of publishers’ web pages and compile a master list of places to send your manuscript. With your internet search, you discover a lot of the big publishing houses don’t take unsolicited manuscripts, only those from agents. As you read these web pages further, you realize you must write a query, a cover letter, a plot synopsis and maybe a chapter outline.

A query is “a one-page description of your manuscript that illuminates its strengths and captures the publisher’s interest.” This letter provides story information, why should reader choose your book, and what makes it memorable. Basically, you need to share the very soul of your book in one page synopsis. Easy right?

In one page, you must hook your future publisher with your writing style, story idea enough to make them want to read the whole manuscript. Yes, it would be easier to start a career in break dancing or do a water color of the Mona Lisa on a postage stamp.

But, let’s quit whining and get started.

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