Dear Mss Snark:
I started querying two weeks ago for my first novel and received, in addition of course to a few rejections:
- a request for the first 50 pages, a bio and a SASE;
- a request for the first three chapters;
- a request for the first five chapters; and
- a request for a full.
I was told that it is important to send an agent EXACTLY what he or she wants, no more, no less. That is what I did. Since nobody requested a synopsis, I did not send one.
Now I read that you are ALWAYS supposed to send a synopsis with a partial or full. Is it true? If so, should I follow up with the agents in question to apologize and send one now? (no) Are there any other items that, even when not requested, should accompany a full/partial? (twenty dollar bill) Of course, I always send a cover letter thanking the agent for his or her interest, which seems self-evident, but am I missing something essential here?
Thank you in advance.
If someone requests a full ms, it won't kill you to send a synopsis. It won't kill you on a partial either.
Mostly this "only send what we ask for" is cause people will send the stupidest damn things in the world if you don't just hammer them with "this and this ONLY". To wit: rocks; CDs, videos; stuffed animals; and hand crafted portfolios showing several options for the cover of the book. Mind you, this is the initial query letter.
And this doesn't even address glitter, folders, express mail return envelopes for unsolicited 500 page novels and chocolate treats that have melted and hardened four times in the varying temperatures in transit.
Three extra pages for a synopsis isn't a deal breaker. You start interpreting that to mean three extra pagodas with incense..then you're toast.
And if agents want something you haven't sent, they'll ask. That's why you list your email address and your phone number on the cover letter.