Today we dabble in the prep work that needs to go into your submission for Pitch Wars, and jumping right in, let’s talk manuscript. You need it to be on the top of its game! How do we get there? Well here’s a few things you can try
- Beta Readers. While there is a debate upon if its best to pay for beta readers or not, they are supposed to give you honest feedback on your work. They can be the non-bias view you needed to get that hook just right!
- Editors. They are just as amazing as the might dung beetle. Yes, I did just compare editors to bugs in a nice way. Think about it… they polish our fluff ups into something incredible. Or for the adult in us, they polish our shit! Making it the bigger more attractive book on the shelf and attracting all the females… I mean readers.
- Critique Partners. Amazing writers with something to offer you. Let’s say you’re really amazing at finding grammatical errors, and another writer you know is purely amazing at dialog. Offer to read through chapter by chapter, utilizing each other’s self editing talents to create a better manuscript, but remember they WILL NOT take published manuscripts!
Next, like most agents and publishing houses, you’re going to need a killer query letter. They have ton of resources on what they want here. Just for fun, lets go over some query letter basics.
- Keep is short. about 200-350 words is best. Any longer then that, and you might not make it any further.
- Include world, character, and conflict. World is just a quick sentence or two about the manuscripts setting. Stick to 2 characters max. We know more people exist in your setting, we just need a few words about the main 1 or 2. Finish with a few sentence about the conflict of the plot. DO NOT include subplot or sub-conflicts in your summary!
- Keep it specific to your story and world. Think ‘back cover’ if it were in print.
Now use those amazing writing skills to whip up a single spaced, single page synopsis of your manuscript! I know I’m asking a lot of your right now, but we are working for something amazing here! Let’s go over the synopsis basics.
- Feed them the hook. Tell those mentors what makes your book stand out from the rest.
- The net paragraph should give us a glimpse into the daily life of the main character, before their life is drastically changed.
- Now hit them with a peek of the ‘point-of-no-return’. You know, when there is no turning back for your character. Just one paragraph should cover it, connect with the previous paragraph, and keep it about the main characters life.
- We’re here! Now sum up the climax in one paragraph that will knock the socks off of the mentors.
- Now let’s close this synopsis up right. Yes you will give up the ending, but these mentors are ready for the spoiler! Now keep it interesting, they have to want more to the very end.
Now the hardest part…
the 35 word summary. While the site says it isn’t required, it looks professional, and is always good to have if you’re planning of querying any agent, not just for pitch wars.
Next month we’ll wrap up this blog series with the FQ&A and application musts! Now take a deep breath, you got this!