Sweepstakes Entries…Great Practice for Querying

When I got the bright idea to write a novel, I never knew there was a thing called “manuscript format” or how to calculate word counts.    

When I saw the reference to manuscript format on an agent’s blog, I did what any newbie would do:  a Google search.  Different sites should advise the same industry standards, right?  Wrong.  Here are just a few conflicts:

  • Where to put the word count and how you found the agent in a query.  (So far, majority favor putting at the bottom; start with a hook).
  • I’ve seen instructions to CAPITALIZE the first use of a character’s name in a synopsis, but have also read agent blogs where this is criticized.
  • Courier vs. Times New Roman font for a manuscript.

The differences are minor, but are a big deal to an inexperienced writer who doesn’t want to irritate an agent before they even read the pathetic query that took 6 months to write!

And there’s another thing…have you read some of the literary agents’ websites regarding the submission process?  It reminds me of childhood, when I used to do the American Family & Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes entries for my parents.  If I didn’t affix the stamps in the proper locations, I could kiss the ten million dollars goodbye.  I must’ve done them all wrong because Ed McMahon never showed up with the balloons and check that took 3 people to carry. 

See how well that worked for me?  Please don’t let me forget to put my book title in the subject line of my query email….


2 thoughts on “Sweepstakes Entries…Great Practice for Querying

  1. chlost May 22, 2010 / 6:12 PM

    If I ever decide to write a novel,now I know who I will contact for practical advice. By then, you will have published an entire bookshelf of novels and will be able to give me all sorts of good tips. Keep at it. Sounds as though you are making progress. I do want to buy your novel when it is published.

    • jannatwrites May 22, 2010 / 8:08 PM

      If you don’t have any idea how much the support helps keep me from giving up on my weak days, I’ll tell you now; A LOT!
      I keep learning, and anything learned is progress/success. I can’t imagine ever getting to the point of being able to give advice, but life’s experiences seem to have a way of getting one there without them ever realizing it. Thanks for visiting!

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