‘Broken Branches’ Submitted.

That’s it! I’m all done with writing and have started the submission process.

Done a cover letter and a synopsis. Dark arts that bleed the very lifeblood and momentum you’ve generating through writing your novel, but necessary evils nonetheless.

Researched the agents I want to contact. A couple take emails which is handy. Got a couple of rejections back already from two American based agents who took email submissions (They’re obviously highly organised and efficient, nothing to do with the novel itself).

How do you know when you’re ready to submit? I’m not sure. I wait until I can flog it no longer and the time spent on it achieves the ‘laws of diminishing returns’, eg. if you spend an hour on it, was that an hour well spent or were you just rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic?

How do you write a cover letter? Don’t ask me, I haven’t got an agent but I found this page at AgentQuery helpful. Query Shark is excellent but US focused. I could be wrong but US cover letter advice seems to be more synopsis based whereas UK advice is very much separated into personalised letter with elevator pitch/synopsis/3 chapters. Either way, Query Shark has great tips for honing the story part of your UK based cover letter and the synopsis. Slushpile Hell is just an excellent read on what NOT to do. Ever.

My aim for the cover letter is;

  1. Show I’m not a complete twat.
  2. Encourage the agent to go on and read the first 3 chapters.

That’s it.

I had one speed-wobble and that was a day or two before sending it off, I read some advice about never using a prologue. My novel has a prologue. A brief one, really short….did I say it was really good too?! I like it, anyway. This advice was on a US site so I’m putting it down to a cultural difference and ignoring it.

I got the first 3 chapters printed at a printers, unbound. Didn’t enclose a SAE as it has to be bad luck.

So after starting this novel in Janaury 2010, it’s now being unleashed into the wilds for blood-thirsty agents to rip apart.