I am John L. Manning Jr. I have self published a book that describes happenings at an island in the Pacific, three books about Mars in the not too distant future. This is a synapses is of my new book that I am looking for an agent to help me get published with a publisher that can help me sell this book:I've been reading Charlene Harris, and was strangely tempted to start this response, "Oh, honey."
Mistake 1: Sincerely, Mr. Manning, do read your query letters looking for misspellings (synapses) and ungrammatical constructions (is a synapses is). This is a bad way to start with editors.
Mistake 2: Don't point out you've self-published in the first sentences of your letter. Don't send your self-published book as a submission instead of regular manuscript pages.
Editors have a strong prejudice against self-publishers (more on that farther down), so try to make your submission look as normal as possible, and just mention the self publishing thing near the end of your letter.
I could mention that if somehow your self-published book was fantastic, it would be ineligible for major award nomination before the trade publisher could get it printed, but fantastic-ness is so unlikely I feel silly for even bringing it up. Or maybe that's my prejudice talking.
Here's the problem with most self-publishers:
1. They think they have a better read on the market than publishers do.
And yet, if you ask them how many of the current children's bestsellers they've read, they'll act like that's hardly important. (I mean, sure, some of the bestsellers are unimportant because they're driven by a celebrity name or something. But a bunch of them are on that list because hundreds of thousands of children are reading them.) And they think there's a chance in hell of getting their book to the market through self-publishing. How many wrong assumptions can you start with?
2. They've decided that most of the work of getting published (which lies in the two areas "submitting like hell and reading any feedback publishers send you" and "writing, and writing, and writing some more so that you get better at it") is too daunting or frustrating or hard on their ego. This book here is perfect the way it is! It's ready for market! Let's go, already!
So the qualities that editors see in many, many self-publishers (without, of course, assuming that Mr. Manning personally has any of these qualities) are: ignorance, impatience, and laziness.
A Night WatchmanMistake 3: The voice of your synopsis. It ought to be a preview of the voice of the manuscript, but it's not making me think I'd enjoy reading your prose.
This story takes place in any city where there is street crime, street racing, and underground fighting. There is a young man that was in a car accident as a child of 12 and was left with physical limitations. As a teen and young man this man went through years of physical therapy and self determination to gain back what he lost in that accident. Over these years he was lonely because of a speech impairment and self debit because of how people now saw him.
Over the years this man has searched for ways to better himself with medicines that he didn't like and therapies that he didn't enjoy. John did find things that did improve his limitations but he always saw himself how the most judgmental people saw him. He found a technology that he thought would help him get better and when he used this technology he found that there were some side effects.
This technology did help John gain abilities that he never had and he wanted to use these abilities to help out the city that he lived in. He started going out at night with these new abilities to fight the street crime of the city. These abilities that he gained improved and the side effects gave him heightened séances that he was learning to take advantage of. At first these abilities just where available when this technology was in use and John started using it more often than not.
John started to investigate a criminal that has gotten him involved in street racing that grew into what he never imagined. In this venture he gained the most unlikely of friends that got him involved with underground fighting. All of these things helped with John's confidence but when the time comes to abandoning his new friends and turning them in, can he, will he, do the right thing.
I will be ready to send you the entire manuscript in October, but I do have four chapters ready for you to look at now. After reading the first two chapters you will see where the book is going, the two additional chapters will help you to appreciate my writings.
I think that this book would gain a wide showing, because this book has racing, fighting, and even a deep hero. There is action to keep you interested and there are relationships to keep you engaged.
Mistake 4: You haven't finished the book. Don't query people before you finish the book. Look, writing a book is long and hard, and some people never finish. Other people finish, but get the ending all wrong. Don't query people before you finish the book.