Finding an Agent: Synopsis: The Hook

The Hook. The Elevator Speech. The Movie Pitch. Twenty-five Words Or Less.

The synopsis exists simply to get them to read the first pages. Don’t try to sell the whole book.

Originally, when pitching an agent (face-to-face or on phone as opposed to written contact, called the query), I said:

  • Literary fiction; a girl and her backpack in Southeast Asia.
  • This pitch worked from the beginning. I have never changed it.

In an envelope, the interested agent (promptly!) received the requested material; marked Requested Material on the envelope, highlighted and circled. My second paragraph, The Expanded Hook, read:

  • When we met at (place and time), you requested to see my novel, The Invincible Summer, a travel adventure of primarily internal terrain.  It is as much a story of learning to thrive from what life hands you as it is about using tai chi, the Chinese art of self-defense and self-examination, to survive incest. 

If I was submitting over the transom, it read:

  • At the advice of (drop name), I am contacting you regarding my novel … etc. Or
  • I am contacting you regarding my novel …
At the time, this was the  best I could do. Today, I see it as upper-mediocre.

About allehall

I am a writer. I write to explore childhood: literary essays and short fiction, journalism, and one haiku. My published work expresses my belief that everything which did or did not happen to me as a child is manifesting in everything that is or is not happening to me today. More importantly, it is also manifesting for my children. I believe funny is the new navel-gazing, and that the best funny keeps a penny's worth of serious in an accessible pocket. Little-known fact: I have a completed novel decorating the inside of a desk drawer. Perhaps it is not funny enough. View all posts by allehall

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Stephen Page

Author: The Timbre of Sand, Still Dandelions, A Ranch Bordering the Salty River. Alum: Palomar College, Columbia University, Bennington College. Follow on twitter @SmpageSteve on Instagram @smpagemoria on Facebook

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