Creating a Submission Package

(Short but sweet because this is my first year doing NaNoWriMo—I’m having a blast & reaching my daily word count goals, so far!)

It is such an intoxicating feeling, to have a project ready for agents to love. I get a little dizzy, and I alternate between tears and mania and delusions of grandeur. And in those delusions, I am super-organized and have everything together, and I’ve put together something I call a submission package.

Here’s what it includes:

1. pitch
2. query letter (including pitch)
3. 1-page, double-spaced synopsis
4. 2-page, double-spaced synopsis
5. wow-I-must-keep-going breaks at the ends of pages 5, 15, and 50, and at the ends of chapters 1 and 3 (really, if I’ve done my job, EVERY page will be like this, but I like to be extra sure on the commonly-requested chunks)
6. prioritized list of agents who might be a good fit for the book AND my career, with any special notes I can include to personalize the query

I won’t be querying any projects for a few months, so in the meantime, is there anything I’m forgetting? Better to know now, than scramble for it later.


I think those "Wow, I must keep going page breaks" are really important. They show your ability to finish strong and keep readers turning the page- which is exactly what an agent is hoping for. I made sure to end on a key revelation or cliffhanger, even if it meant adding or deleting a page or two so there was a natural break. I recall some agencies asked for the first 5 or 10 pages at the bottom of the query. One trick I read somewhere and used: unless an agency had a rule against it, I always included the first 5 pages at the bottom of a query (never as an attachment) with "Wow" ending. That way the agent could see a bit of the writing before requesting a sample. No one ever complained and I did get some requests that way.

THanks for this package. Will add this to my writing wiki for my students! ANd then I can remember it myself...:)

Excellent ideas, Beth. I love the idea of the cliff hanger. And Talia's suggestion of including some writing with the query is brilliant, too. Good luck, Beth, with your monthly goal! And, thanks!

Such a good idea to prep for every kind of question that's likely to come up in this way. Besides, if you haven't sorted this lot out you're probably not ready to query.

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