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Recently I began working for a publisher, which has put me on the other side of the desk. It’s the first thing an editor or agent sees, it’s a vital part of your submission process (along with your covering letter), and it’s fiendishly difficult to get done! It takes a different set of skills to put together a good submission package than to write a book. Most publishing houses and agents specify that a synopsis should accompany any manuscript submission.
But after consultations with various publishers and agents, and hearing repeated instances of writers not thinking through when and what they send, guidance is perhaps needed …
Literary agents will read the manuscript you send, and some the synopsis, but all will read the covering letter.
Writing an effective one may take you a long time, but it is well worth the trouble.
The whole thing should: When an agent approaches a publisher to enthuse about a new author, they will have to justify the claims they make on your behalf. Most houses ask for manuscripts to be double-spaced.
Being specialist allows them to work on the kind of books they like (it’s their money they are spending, and however much you might wish they would publish in your area of writing, it …
Most publishing houses receive a huge number of unsolicited manuscripts every day.
Although optional, the cover letter is an excellent opportunity to briefly discuss the importance of the submitted work and why it is appropriate for the journal.
Please avoid repeating information that is already present in the abstract and introduction.
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