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  1. #1
    Adam Neal
    Guest

    Advice for agent hunting

    Hey everyone, I have recently decided to make the shift from academic writing to fiction/literary, and am having a terribly rough time finding any agents that are 1) reputable and 2) at all interested. I have had responses, but have seen through every one of them and have yet to get any positive response from any agencies worth anything.

    So, what I am hoping for is that you, the writer's net community, might give me some possible leads on agencies that would be interested in 1) a non-published (aside from encyclopedia entries) writer, and 2) my work (obviously there is no way to tell, but it's hard to gauge which agents might find my topic at all interesting, so I'm just hoping to get some leads here).

    First of all, here is a link to a recently begun blog to get my book out there at least in digital format

    http://crimsonreckoning.blogspot.com/

    Also, here is the current synopsis that I have been working with, so any comments on that would be greatly appreciated as well.

    GENRE: Post-apocalyptic Horror
    SYNOPSIS

    The year is 2052, three decades after a short but pointed nuclear war, known as Red Thursday, that left a billion dead. The world has plunged into darkness as the great civilizations around the globe have fallen into disorder and chaos. In an age consumed by utter despair, who can stand against the impending death of humanity? In the shadows of the dying planet, a small group of survivors, who call themselves the Reckoners, have banded together, collected by an enigmatic figure known only as Abidan. They fight for something that the world has all but forgotten: the promise of hope.
    Silence, one of the Reckoners, is a child of the Congo , and this book explores his childhood as he was inducted by a tyrannical mass murderer as a Servant of the Shadow, a person who has given up their humanity in order to be able to feed off of the suffering of others. It also follows him and his partner, Wayland Cartwright, codename Bludgeon, in the present (2052) as they investigate a series of strange occurrences in Old Germany. Filled with colorful characters of every shade, ranging from inspiring heroes to treacherous villains, and every combination between, the book seeks to both entertain while also bringing the audience to question notions of identity, history, morality, and even the foundations of religion. Struck in bitter detail, it provides a grim view of a future that is best avoided. At the foundation of it all, the author intends the book to be an extended meditation on the fine line between hope and despair.
    “Crimson Reckoning” is a proposed eight book science-fiction suspense horror thriller series that tells the story of how the world was able to reclaim its hope even in the face of the most terrible evil. Each book focuses on a different member of the group, the Reckoners, and tells the parallel story of how that character got where s/he is. Although written under a larger plot framework that encompasses the entire series, each novel consists of an entirely self-contained story arc with a resolution at the end.


    Since I have no experience in pitching myself or my work, I have only been going on the sort of advice that I have found on this and other sites, which is often contradictory. Specifically, I would like advice on the synopsis length, whether it adequately covers the necessary points of interest, and lastly (most subjectively) whether it is interesting to you.

    Any response would be highly valuable, as I have been searching for agents with little interest and realize that I need to work on "selling" myself. Thank you in advance

    If anyone is interested in opening communication with me, please don't hesitate to email me at: the.overmen@gmail.com



  2. #2
    Cathy C
    Guest

    Re: Advice for agent hunting

    a proposed eight book science-fiction suspense horror thriller series

    This is likely what's killing any chance you might have of finding representation for this. Here's why:

    1) Pick a shelf in the bookstore where your book will sit. Any shelf. But only ONE shelf. I'd say SF, since that's the primary genre. Horror is a bit of a dead genre right now, so try to stay away from it in your query. Many bookstores are either eliminating the shelf altogether (by blending the books with the "master" genre of SF, Fantasy, Mystery or General Fiction.) Your book would sit comfortably on the SF shelf, so that's what I'd call it. Or, you could call it a "thriller," since there have been other post-apocalyptic stories on those shelves. But for a debut author, you'll probably find a better audience in SF, since the cause of the disaster is based in science.

    2. Telling an agent that it's an eight book series will definitely scare them off. You can say you're working on what you hope will be a SEQUEL, but that the first book stands alone. And it MUST stand alone. If the rest of the series never was produced, the reader must close the cover with the knowledge that even if the war still rages, the battle is won. Until you actually have a publisher to discuss a potential series with, that's how it has to be. Now, publishers do LIKE series, so that's to your benefit, but they don't want to think that they MUST do a series if the first book fails on the shelf.

    Now, cutting apart the synopsis, here's your plot:

    Silence, one of the Reckoners, is a child of the Congo , and this book explores his childhood as he was inducted by a tyrannical mass murderer as a Servant of the Shadow, a person who has given up their humanity in order to be able to feed off of the suffering of others. It also follows him and his partner, Wayland Cartwright, codename Bludgeon, in the present (2052) as they investigate a series of strange occurrences in Old Germany.

    Everything else is backstory that leads UP to the plot. But it's not much of a plot as it reads. What are the "strange occurrences?" What's in it for Silence to solve the mystery? Money? Fame? Love/Sex? For a query letter (which precedes the synopsis---asking permission to send the synopsis) all you want is the basic plot. The first two sentences, plus this, plus some details that answer the questions, are all that's needed.

    For the synopsis, you also MUST include the resolution of the plot and as many subplots as you can. The synopsis can say things like, "I intend for the subplot involving Bludgeon's search for his family to be addressed in a sequel, but it could resolve in this book if necessary." (or some such.)

    That will get you started. Then try posting it again.

  3. #3
    Wonky
    Guest

    Re: Advice for agent hunting

    This is Bludgeon.


  4. #4
    jayce
    Guest

    Re: Advice for agent hunting

    Take a look at this site for general info on agents and query letters:

    <http://www.agentquery.com>

    Besides picking a genre, you also need word count (rounded to 1000s). A query letter must fit on one page. Give the main character, what his goal is (premise), who or what stands in the way (conflict), and what the benefits of success or consequences of failure are (resolution).

    Rewrite and post again.

    Good luck.

  5. #5
    Arden Wolfe
    Guest

    Re: Advice for agent hunting

    What Cathy said is correct.

    On a side note, I'm not 100% certain synopsis critique should be done here.

    Might get a better response in the writing area.

    Wolfe

  6. #6
    E Lynd
    Guest

    Re: Advice for agent hunting

    You said you recently decided. Is the book done? Because fiction has to be done, or the agents won't touch you. And you say you need to sell yourself--no, you need to sell your book. Read up on query letters; I suspect that is part of where the trouble is. Plus, if the book's not done, as I said.

  7. #7
    Adam Neal
    Guest

    Re: Advice for agent hunting

    Thanks for the reply, yes, the book is done, I've worked through a complete rewrite and as it stands it is in it's second draft, which feels to me to be ready for a professional edit (if I can get it to the stage where publishers are seriously looking at it). I'm going to look at the lit on query letters as y'all recommend and will work on it.

    Also, I'm going to rewrite my synopsis and post it in the writer's forum, thanks!!

    Oh, and does anyone know how long a proper synopsis should be? I want to keep it short, but ultimately the book is 425 pages (115k words) long and it's been quite difficult for me to try and summarize it while both keeping the important points and yet not getting bogged down in the details.

    Thanks everyone, this is all real helpful.

  8. #8
    Cathy C
    Guest

    Re: Advice for agent hunting

    What you have here isn't a bad SHORT synopsis, if you just include the resolution. A typical synopsis is 2 pages single (or 5 pages double) spaced---unless the agent requests something different. Some agents like chapter by chapter outlines, which they often also call a synopsis. But check guidelines and if there aren't any, go with the 2 page single. I tend to do synopses as single spaced unless directed otherwise. Saves stamps.

  9. #9
    Adam Neal
    Guest

    Re: Advice for agent hunting

    Well, I have worked on my short synopsis and will post it in the writer's forum area. I would love any more feedback you have on it. Thanks again, especially thank you Cathy, this is the sort of critical response I have really been craving.

  10. #10
    Cade Kaiser
    Guest

    Re: Advice for agent hunting

    you probably want to pitch this as "dark fantasy"

    i don't think you'd have any luck touting it as a horror novel

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