May 13, 2013 by KWills
RoW80 round two is progressing well. I’m keeping up with most of my resolutions, and plodding on with the edit (which has kept me so busy that I forgot to post this yesterday). The query letter has been written, the synopsis drafted, and the edit is nearly done. So what now? Down to the post office as soon as I’ve corrected and printed out the sample chapters, right?
Once the edit is done (this time tomorrow, I hope) I still have to do a final check. Make sure the query letter is as good as it can be. That will be the first thing the agent reads, and if there’s a typo in the second paragraph then the whole thing stands a good chance of hitting the recycling box before the sample chapters are even out of the envelope. Harsh? Perhaps, but necessary. I’m about to become a professional, and that means meeting professional standards in every way.
I don’t mean that I have to be perfect Fiction is highly subjective, and there is no one “correct” way to write. There are, however, rules about spelling, grammar and punctuation. That is why I have signed up to a couple of online courses in basic writing skills, just to make sure that my English won’t let me down. It may be my first language, but that don’t make me no automatic export in how to use it right. Right? Right.
There’s another shortcut to rejection, and that is not following the submission guidelines. There are some basic industry standards, such as printing on one side of the paper only, not using staples or paperclips, and leaving good margins. However, most agents and publishers have their own submission guidelines, so always check before sending. The official website should be the first port of call. If there is no website, or if no submission guidelines are provided, then try a query letter. Only telephone as a last resort, and then keep it brief and to the point.
I have chosen an agency to approach. They seem to be right up my alley – representing graphic novels as well as prose, currently accepting new writers, and actively looking for children’s and YA books. If they don’t take me on it won’t be the end of the world; I have other potential agents on my list However, I’d be very happy if I could get accepted by them. That’s why I’m checking and double-checking before I make contact. This is my one chance at a first impression, and I don’t want to mess it up.
If all goes well, the submitted chapters of “The History of Haplow House” will be waiting in an in-tray in London by this time next week. I don’t know when I’ll hear back, but I’ll be sure to let you know as soon as I do.