Advice and Salt Grains

July 8th, 2004 · 2 Comments
by Booksquare

Here is the wonderful thing about writing: there are no rules. For every person who tells you that you must only use one point of view per scene, there are zillions of examples otherwise (not that we’d commit such heresy, but it’s not because we’re the teacher’s pet kind; we simply like on point of view). It is with this caveat that we recommend this article on contacting an agent. Based on our careful, caffeine-free reading, it appears geared more toward the non-fiction author. Though it’s not our area of expertise (we’re so much more comfortable with lying), we would question one or two things.

First, titles change. Having a good title is grand, but don’t get married to it. And by that, we mean don’t get your title tattooed to a body part. Especially a visible body part. Probably you shouldn’t get a tattoo at all, unless you plan on maintaining smooth, nubile skin your whole life.

Second, establish your platform. Why are you uniquely qualified to write this book. Platforms are increasingly important in non-fiction, and help in fiction. We think it’s because publishers don’t want to print medical advice from people who get most of their information from ER and General Hospital. Though, now that we think about it, do they ever go into the operating room on GH? It’s been a while.

Finally (we do need coffee, because we see he touched on the platform thing; however, we’ve already written the paragraph), we’re not so sure about the out-of-sequence chapter thing. Perhaps this reveals, more than anything, our inexperience in non-fiction, but it has always been our understanding that it’s better to submit sequential chapters. They should naturally contain good writing. Yes, that was a weak attempt at humor. Chapters and a detailed outline (probably more detailed than a table of contents, but that’s us, always going the extra step).

File Under: Agents · Tools and Craft

2 responses so far ↓

  • Heather // Jul 18, 2004 at 3:51 pm

    Out of sequence chapters would imply the writer was sending only the best ones and leave an impression the rest of the book wasn’t worth the effort.

  • Heather // Jul 18, 2004 at 3:54 pm

    Sending non-sequential chapters would imply only the best ones were being submitted, leaving the agent to believe the rest of the book wasn’t worth reading