Dear Miss Snark:
I wrote an unusual memoir in the voice of an elderly relative. The preface is written in my voice, which includes my own personal memories of the person who narrates the story. The subject's voice then begins with an introduction that follows the preface.
My question: when a literary agent asks for the first five pages, do I send the first five from the preface (the actual beginning) that is written in my voice or the first five written in the narrator's voice, which is the voice that is carried throughout the book but follows the preface?
My second question: would a literary agent who typically requests on their website that you include the first five pages be turned off by someone who sends twenty-five pages by snailmail? It is written on a subject that the agent is very interested in, and I figure that the first twenty-five will cover an example of both voices.
Thanks for your snarkly opinion.
1. Send the first five pages of chapter one, not the preface. Explain there is a preface in your cover letter.
2. What part of "follow the directions" doesn't apply to you? Alright then: five pages. Not 25.
If I want more, I'm pretty sure you'll be glad to tell me how to reach you and send it to me. If I don't like five, you've wasted paper and postage. FOLLOW THE DAMN DIRECTIONS.
3. Here's the answer to the question you didn't ask: if you write a memoir about someone else, it's not a memoir unless you're the ghost writer. It's biography or narrative non fiction.