Miss Snark,
My submission for nitwittery follows:

I am moving towards completion of what I can only describe as a humorous memoir, and as I begin girding myself for the query process I keep stumbling over the question of what to submit.

My problem is, the darned memoir reads like fiction, not a traditional non-fiction work, and a submission of several chapters will present it a lot more effectively than a non-fiction proposal. It’s really more like narrative fiction. Are you going to slap me around and tell me to shut up and send a proposal? If so, is there any resource that deals with constructing a proposal for a memoir? The genre seems to be largely ignored in the “how to query” resources I have seen.

Also, while you’re slapping….in the event that one were to receive a request for, say, three sample chapters of whatever they are pitching, is there a convention on the chronology of chapters that you send? First three? First, middle, end?

Memoir is non-fiction, but it's acquired like a novel. That is, on chapters not a proposal. You'll write a cover letter and include sample pages using the agent's instructions for fiction writers. Don't just send three chapters to everyone cause the not-so-subliminal message there is "sent by a nitwit".

As for order: 1, 2, 3. If you send 1 and anything other than 2 I stop at 1.


Curious said...

If the agent hasn't posted guidelines, what's the standard for number of sample pages to send? Should those be the first pages of the piece? Thanks!!

Curious said...

Never mind, I think I found the answer in the Snarkives. First five pages of chapter 1, yes?

wonderer said...

curious - The divine Miss Snark says to send five double-spaced pages along with your one-page (single-spaced) query letter. They should be the first pages of Chapter One - if you have a prologue, don't send it.