No, today it’s time to talk about three of the necessary evils a novelist deals with along the way. While these aren’t the only three tough tasks we have to tackle, they’re the ones I’ve heard writers decry most often as they work on their journey toward publication.
You need to write a query letter (ugh). You need to write a synopsis (ouch). And you need to be able to sum up your entire novel in one simple sentence (how?!).
So since each of these is a necessary evil, I thought I’d address a) just how necessary and b) just how evil each one is for the average writer. Let’s begin!
The Query Letter. How necessary? 9 out of 10 if you’re seeking traditional publishing; if you’re going the indie route, make that a 0 of 10. How evil? Mmm, let’s say 7 or 8 out of 10 for most of us.
Look, query letters are tough. But the job of the query letter isn’t to describe your entire novel. It’s just to whet the appetite of the agent to ask for more. If you can frame out what makes your novel especially intriguing, include any special credentials that show why you’re the right person to write it, and leave the agent wanting more, you’ve pretty much got it covered. Easier said than done? Absolutely. A necessary part of the process for hooking an agent? Pretty much totally, unless you happen to hook someone in a pitch session at a conference, and even then, you’ll probably want some kind of query/cover letter to re-introduce yourself when you send your materials along.
The Synopsis. How necessary? Maybe 7 out of 10. How evil? Yeah, that’s a 10. It’s the most.