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When attempting to sell a novel, everything should relate to “the novel” you’re selling.

  • The Plot: Use clear language that introduces your characters and explains who did what to whom. You’re selling the book to a publisher, not writing the back cover copy. Give away the ending. Don’t hold anything back.
  • Genre and Word Count: Publishing companies maintain detailed demographic information about their books and readers that result in having “slots” to fill. Include the genre and word count so it’s easy for your reviewer to determine if your 65,000 word Space-Cowboy Romance fills an open slot in their Spring lineup.
  • Writing Awards: Only include awards won by the novel you’re selling.
  • Past Publications: Novels must stand on their own merits, not the authors. Only include past publications if you are submitting something like a freelance article to a magazine.
  • Critique Groups: Never include them. They aren’t recognized as valid by the professional community.

Remember, you’re selling a novel, not yourself, your past successes or your commitment. All of those things distract from the purpose of the query – to sell your novel.

For some tongue-in-cheek advice from an industry professional, I recommend the hilarious Annotated Query Letter from Hell by Cheryl Klein. She is the Executive Editor at Arthur A. Levine Books (an imprint of Scholastic) and has worked on, among other things, the american editions of the Harry Potter series.

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Hooray! Dragons truly can be beaten! I’ve just put together a complete and comprehensive outline of the first book in my series. I’ve been at this for years and it’s finally coming together. Act I and Act II are fully complete so I only lack choosing the best ending among several variations in mind. It’s going to be a young adult mystery novel that deals with the loss of a close family member as a necessary part of the plot. Ultimately, this will be the first in a seven-book set.

Thank you James Scott Bell for your excellent book on Plot and Structure! I couldn’t have done it without you.

Anyway, I now feel comfortable enough with the content of my book to start writing the scenes. I’m not much of a seat of the pants kind of writer so I hate rewriting. Thus, planning the whole thing out in an outline form was a must for me. I do have some scenes already written that came to me at the odd moment. (Why do I get so many ideas when I’m in the shower?)

So, if you are interested in reading an early copy to give me feedback or would like to help me publicize it in any way, send me a quick message and I’ll add you to my list. (No spam – I promise.)

BTW, I haven’t settled on a title yet. There is a recurring theme of “Darkness” throughout the book so if anyone has some suggestions, I am open to hear them. And when I say the theme is “Darkness” I mean it in every sense of the word, so let your creativity loose when making suggestions.

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