I finished the last tweaks of my smutty novel and had a friend copy-edit the semi-final draft for me. With those corrections made (and a heap of encouragement from friends), I am now putting a package together for manuscript submission. I decided to follow the traditional publishing route (submission to publishers, agents) and after a yet-to-be-defined time limit go ahead with self-publishing if I don’t get a response. I still have the challenge ahead of figuring out what I need for a solid submission, not to mention creating the support materials. Luckily there is plenty of advice about what I need (which varies) and how to approach each item (which varies).
First: The Synopsis. And The Pitch. The synopsis and the pitch are two different things but since a pitch includes a condensed version of the synopsis, I started with my synopsis. I’ve succeeded in drafting two versions of synopses. One reads better, but is a page and a half—too long for some publishers. The other (compiled using a worksheet shared by Susan Dennard) fits neatly into a page but reads too much like a plot summation and doesn’t reflect the tone of the novel. I will end up using the slightly longer but much stronger synopsis and hope no one asks for a one-pager. My first attempt at a synopsis began with what is essentially a one-paragraph pitch. So lucky me—a starting point! Now I need to refine that paragraph and incorporate it into a cover letter that sells both me and the novel. No problem!
Second: A Good Title. I am struggling with titles—I always have. I even made a mixed tape once called “I Was Never Good at Titles.” Titles in general. A title for this post. The best title possible for the novel I’m about to pitch. I brainstormed a full-page list of possibilities, all terrible. I pared my synopsis down to a single sentence. That didn’t help. I’ve thrown the better ideas into Lulu (the Titlescorer) for a typical result of 69% chance of becoming a best-seller. I want better. A small handful returned a 79% result but none of them reflect the novel well enough. My boyfriend continues to suggest titles that might work if I’d written a gay porn novel. I should stop asking for his help.
Third: Defining the Genre. Romantic Suspense. Done.