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What is in the ideal submission package – and what isn’t?

Have you been thinking about submitting your work to an agent or publisher recently? If so, does the prospect fill you with fear?

Don’t despair – you’re not alone. It takes a different set of skills to put together a good submission package than to write a book. There are obviously some areas of overlap, but it’s worth putting the time in to learn a few tricks of the trade, as it can make all the difference between your envelope being opened and swiftly returned, and an actual assessment of your writing.

So what do you send? Firstly, check the agent’s submission requirements. There is no point sending what hasn’t been asked for, they will assume you can’t follow instructions which is not a great start to a potential professional relationship.

Most agencies will ask for a similar amount of material, and will include a submission letter, a synopsis, and the first three chapters.

So – submission letter – a simple statement of what you’re sending in, who you are, why you’ve chosen this agency, and how you would (or wouldn’t) like your material returned.

A synopsis – this has been up for discussion on the Community pages here recently, but you can’t go wrong with one side of single-spaced A4, and remember – you need to include all your plot, including any surprise endings.

First three chapters – please make these the FIRST THREE chapters. The agent will be looking at how you’ve opened the novel, and how you flow from one chapter to another. If they aren’t your strongest three chapters, work on them until they are.

Image from Hello Cherie (Amanda Claire). Purchase here.

If you found this article useful, you might want to take a look at:

Write a great synopsis

How not to write a synopsis

What is a synopsis and why are they so hard to write?