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After indulging in the latest episode of Downton Abbey and an accompanying cup of plum pudding black tea…with just a splash of milk…I started my Writers Digest course. I just finished watching the presentation, “How to Make Your Work Stand Out to Agents,” given by two of the agents…the two I’ve actually had the pleasure of meeting.

Now, I have been dreading the query letter and synopsis, but after listening to their presentation I feel much better about it! Basically, they’re looking for professional and succinct. I can do that. And as they reminded us, the query letter and synopsis are tools…they don’t have to be great works of art…and they definitely shouldn’t be gimmicky. Even the agents acknowledged that they know this type of technical writing is difficult for us authors…and they ultimately rely on the writing of the work to speak for itself…but these are the necessary tools to introduce ourselves, give them some background, and establish a professional relationship. And I am so good at professional. Not great at succinct, but I can work on that.

Speaking of succinct, I did learn during the presentation that the industry rarely takes works over 100,000 words from debut authors. If I’m lucky I’ll be a debut author sometime in the near future, and I know for certain that my novel is hovering around the 113,000 mark. Now, that makes me more nervous than a query letter or synopsis. So if you’ll excuse me I’ll go where I can lose abut 13,000 words. Ugh…more editing!

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