Your chances of getting published, or accepted by a literary agent, can be ruined by a poor submission so here are some tips to help you get it right.
Your work should be typed using double spacing and wide margins in Times New Roman point 12.
An outline is different from a synopsis.
An outline is usually a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of your work. For fiction it usually comprises a few sentences for each chapter, showing key developments in that chapter, introducing characters and showing character development as well as any sub plots that impact or interact on the novel.
The outline can be anything up to four pages of A4, broken down by chapter headings and 1.5 spacing.
Most publishers and agents ask for the first three chapters of your novel and a synopsis. Your synopsis therefore should start where your third chapter leaves off, do not waste words by repeating in the synopsis what has already taken place in chapters one to three.
It should follow the progression of the book, showing the introduction of the main characters and the development of the plot.
It should never say things like and ‘guess what happens next? Read the book to find out.’ This is guaranteed to get you a rejection.
Write the synopsis in the same style as your book, light and chatty if your novel is chatty but make it a factual development.
Ensure that your synopsis is laid out with at least 1.5 spacing. Check your spelling and punctuation and ensure the presentation is as professional as possible.
Comply with the publisher/agents’ request when submitting your work, if they say they want only two chapters then send them two chapters not four. Also always send the first two chapters and not two chapters picked out at random. If they say they want a two-page outline then send only this.
For more on writing a synopsis you can read an earlier item on this blog written by Amy Myers.