Dear Miss Snark:
I haven't been able to find the answer to my question in any of my books about querying agents or online, so thought I'd humbly ask the knowledgeable and esteemed Miss Snark. My literary fiction manuscript references a popular 1970s book in its content, and also in my title. I have a short quote from that book that succinctly captures the theme of my novel, and I'd like to include it when I send my first 5 pages, or a chapter (if requested) to an agent. But is this something that is not done? And if not, how do the quotes/poems you often see at the beginning of the books get included?
Jonathan Livingston Seagull flies again?
One hopes not..but on to the question.
You can include anything you want but wasting space on a quote you didn't write that describes the over arching theme is just that...wasting space.
We're not settling in for a long luxurious read when we pick up your pages. I'm reading this to see if you can string sentences together with a degree of élan and style; if you have something interesting to say; to see if your fashion evangelist cat starts to proclaim the coming of the Lord and Taylor on page three.
Save the quotes (and the dedication page, the preface, the must read prolog that explains chapter 30) for the full manuscript. Start with page one. Then add pages two three four and five. That's it.