Selling Out. All authors want to sell out, whether they admit it or not. But how do you do it? Writing the book is probably the easier of the process. Writing the synopsis and the query letter are the more difficult tasks. So here's the task for your synopsis: Take your book that you've toiled and bled over, a book that you've tore your heart out and smeared into words on the page, and simply condense it to a page. And make sure you express feeling page. Feeling! Crap! The emotions were in the words that I used to fill my book.
Here's the task for your query letter: Take the page that you've crammed your book in and boil the thing down to a paragraph. Oh...make sure you have feeling and it grabs the agent or publisher. Crap!
I'd consulted with Michael Hauge for these near impossible tasks. For those of you who don't know, he wrote 20 or so books on writing novels and screenplays. One of them is called Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds. I've consulted him on my pitch, query letter and synopsis. It's seems to me these are the most important things in selling your book. Because I'm sure the books we write, all of us, are just amazing.
On the synopsis, he suggests distilling your story down to ten major turning points. Once you have that, get rid of the ones that are repetitive. He suggests that you have around six. Then write a paragraph for each one, giving details, and link the events together so it flows.
The query letter is much different. In working with Michael, I found that the pitch and query letter are pretty similar. I'd just attended my first conference, and we had a session where we could pitch to agents. We had three minutos to do this. What?! My pitch was about a minute long, and it left the next two minutes for the agent and I to connect. The main components are who is your hero-dad, farmer, warrior. Where is the setting-dingy tenderloine of San Francisco, middle earth, cold stench of Mars. Then comes the pivot point, the inciting incident, or the thing that just f*cks up your hero's life. The last piece is the major conflict. In the midwest, a farmer loses his farm, and must find a way to feed his poor family, but is met with aliens from Mars who'll stop at nothing to suck his brains out. Sounds like a good story.
Check out Michael's book. It's got great information in it. I'm thankful for being able to have him as a resource.
I will post my synopsis up on this site for all of you to peruse.