Q&A: Query Letter with Synopsis?

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Salaam, I have been very busy ever since [the Open Call] post and working away on perfecting my draft. I am now starting to reach out to agents and am very excited about it all!

I am wondering if you can clarify something for me. When agents ask for a synopsis or a summary, should I still send them my query letter or just a part of it? The one which describes the summary?

Please let me know!


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  1. Hi Sheeza,

    How exciting!  Query is a must, which should include an intro to the plot, a brief synopsis, your audience,  how you plan to market it, any comparable titles and relevant info about yourself like previous publications and education etc. All within a maximum of 500 words.

    If the publisher requests detail synopsis that would be classified as a book proposal,  entailing a 1 – 5 pager synopsis depending on the length of your manuscript and yes, it’s a good idea to include the query provided there is no repetitive information in both documents.

    Hope this helps.

    Good luck!

  2. As-salamu Alaykum, Dear Sheeza – and Eid Mubarak!

    I am really happy to hear of your progress, masha’Allah. It is wonderful to see so many Muslim writers feeling motivated by the Open Call initiative.

    In response to your question, always follow the precise guidelines outlined on a particular agent’s website. Many agents request a “package” that includes a query letter, a synopsis or summary, and part of your manuscript. Some may ask for a synopsis at a later point.

    To demonstrate, here are some typical instructions found on an agency’s website:

    To submit, send your query letter, 1-2 page synopsis, and first 10-15 pages in the body of your email to [email address]. Messages sent with attachments will not be opened.

    Here, it seems pretty straightforward that the agency requires all three elements of a submission – and that one should not omit any particular element.

    On another website:

    Email your chosen agent and tell her briefly who you are, about your book, and why you’re the one to write it. Include the title of your project in the subject line of your email. Then paste the first ten pages of your book in the body of your email (not as an attachment, please).

    Here, no synopsis is requested, so I would not send one. I would, however, have it ready in case the agent requested it. I might also mention that it was available in my query. I have personally had an agent request a synopsis from me after an initial query, so this definitely does happen.

    Another agency says:

    Please send the first 50 pages of your novel (double-spaced in 12-point type, printed on one side of the sheet only) with a BRIEF synopsis and a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE).

    Here, there is no mention of a query letter, but I think that I would definitely send one along with the other materials. A query letter is a business letter explaining who you are as well as what you are sending (and why) – and it is supposed to entice the agent, much like the blurb on the back of a book. I don’t have enough knowledge about this agency to speculate as to why they did not specifically mention a query letter, but perhaps it is so obvious that they did not think to include it in their guidelines. If you don’t send one, they will not be getting an overview of your book or any information about you as an author, so this seems risky. Your work will speak for itself, but you do need that (brief) letter explaining your interest in them as well.

    See the following article for more information:

    Query vs Synopsis: Don’t send one in place of the other

    Also see this discussion.

    Amel – MWC Admin
    Amel recently posted…FREE FOR 5 DAYS ONLY! 50 Markets that Pay Freelance Writers 10 to 15 Cents per Word, by Amel S. AbdullahMy Profile

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