There is lots of good stuff happening over at WriteOnCon.com…lots of fantastic articles and chats and vlogs from editors and agents. (Seems like there were issues with the site yesterday, and now it’s back up, at least for me. I don’t know what that was about.) As a result of all the great content going up online, I’m feeling a little less-than-inspired about my own blog topic today. Ho hum.
Well, since you’re all probably learning about new agents and editors who you’d like to submit to at WriteOnCon, I wanted to tackle a submission question that came in from reader Siski a long time ago:
Is it worth providing an agent with a synopsis of several manuscripts so they can assess you as an author, rather than assess you in terms of one manuscript? Would that make rejection less likely? Or will an agent be able to see what you’re capable of from just one MS and therefore wouldn’t want to know of others?
I get this question a lot at conferences and through the blog. Should you send a slew of your stuff or charge into the great query yonder with just one project at a time?
I’m very adamant about my answer: send only your absolute strongest project out. No ifs ands or buts. I don’t care if it’s a ten word picture book. If it’s your strongest work, that’s what you should show the world. In most cases — especially with picture book manuscripts, but this could apply to novels, too — having a really great, strong submission will either get you an offer or at least get your foot in the door.
After the communication lines between you and the editor/agent are open, you can broach other projects. Or the agent/editor may ask to see what else you have. But the time for that is AFTER they show interest in your initial blow-the-door-off-its-hinges submission.
When we get a slew of submissions from a writer, either in one email or in twenty, we’re overwhelmed. We’re annoyed. We wonder why you have those twenty manuscripts sitting around on your hard drive and, yes, why you decided to unleash them on the world in one big deluge. It also makes us panicky. Do you want us to sell all twenty of those for you right off the bat? Are your expectations completely unrealistic?
So be patient. Really take a long, hard look at all the projects you have to potentially offer an agent/editor. Choose your favorite, the one you feel is most marketable or the one you’re most passionate about (ideally, it will have both of those qualities!). And send that one as a way to engage the editor/agent into asking for more. That’s the right way to do it. Sending your entire slew will have the opposite effect — you’ll get that agent/editor shutting the door of opportunity in your face instead of opening it wider