Categories
Software Review

The Tools We Use: Aeon Timeline

When writing a novel, the fastest way to inconsistency is to lose track of your timeline. For some stories, the timeline can be simple, flowing in chronological order from a single character’s point of view. But for others, it can get mighty complicated. Think about all the interweaving threads of Game of Thrones, or the out-of-sequence time-hopping of The Time Traveller’s Wife.

There are a lot of ways you can track a timeline, and it doesn’t require dedicated software. It can be as simple as post-it notes on a wall, or an outline in a word processor, where each scene is captured in chronological order. If you’re feeling spicy, you might employ a spreadsheet. But, none of these options worked for me. Word documents made it too hard to visualize how different events interacted. Spreadsheets were a little better, but not great, and a pain to maintain. The classic post-it notes on a wall solved the visualization problem, but I don’t work in just one place, and it’s tricky to take the wall with me. So I went looking for tools to help.

What I found was Aeon Timeline.

The basic timeline screen of Aeon Timeline

Developed for writers, program managers, and legal practitioners, Aeon Timeline has become an integral part of my writing process.

Why I like it

I love Aeon Timeline for a few simple reasons:

  • Its flexibility.
  • Its visualizations.
  • Its ability to sync with manuscript projects.

Flexibility

Aeon Timeline has been designed to let you capture whatever you want, starting with the style of calendar: you can opt to work with real dates (at any point in the past, present, or future) or with relative dates/times (e.g., day 1, day 2, etc.). Working on a project set in a fantasy world with its own calendar? No problem. Define your personal calendar with its own eras, months, and weekdays. One weakness here is that out of the box, it only provides the Gregorian calendar (no Chinese, Bhutanese, Julian, Hebrew, Hijri, or Buddhist options as of yet).

Once you have your base calendar configured, you can set what you want to track. You can define the core properties used on events, and any number of “entities” that can be linked to events (such as characters, arcs, locations, etc.). For each type of entity you define, you can then determine what properties are captured about those entities. For example, characters can have a “Birth Date” that will allow the software to calculate and display the ages of any people linked to the event. Events can also be color-coded. The available colors, and the labels assigned to those colors, can be configured as well.

By now you’re probably getting the idea.

To you get started, the software comes with a bunch of pre-configured templates. The standard templates include things like fiction, project management, legal, historical, and screenplay, plus some more generic options. If you start using the software a lot and the existing templates aren’t quite right, you can create your own easily.

Aeon Timeline's new project templates.

Visualization

Aeon Timeline only offers two views, yet its ability to visualize my timelines is a selling point. This is partly because those views are all I’ve needed, and partly because you can filter and configure those views to suit the circumstances.

The two views are “Timeline View” and “Relationship View.”

Aeon Timeline "Timeline View".
Screenshot saved from Aeon Timeline website: https://www.aeontimeline.com/features/events-relationships-groups/

Timeline View is your standard timeline, with each event drawn on its own row according to dates/relative times marked across the top. By default, each event is displayed as a colored line with an identifying label (ID, title, start and finish dates & times). You can expand an event to show a summary card, or select it to see all its information in a properties panel on the side. You can configure some basic settings for the main view (light or dark theme, hide IDs, etc.), but more importantly, you can set what is displayed on the summary cards. These cards can include any of the properties you’ve defined for the event and place them in one of two columns, making a bunch of information available at a glance. For example, I like to keep track of the moon phases and weather as properties of events to help me avoid inconsistencies. I’ve added these to the summary information, so I can instantly check what I’d said the weather was doing in a particular scene.

Expanded Summary Card in Aeon Timeline.

In addition to customizing the summary display, you can also group events by entities (e.g., by arc, character, or location) and filter events (by entity or property, such as character, location, weather, duration, tag, etc.). Filters can be multidimensional and saved for easy re-use.

Aeon Timeline screenshot showing collapsing groups. Screenshot saved from Aeon Timeline website: https://www.aeontimeline.com/features/context-and-focus/

The other built-in view is the relationship view. This lets you create a cross-reference table of entities against events. Events are displayed down the table in rows, and the entities you pick are displayed as columns, with color-coded symbols displayed on the intersections to show which events have those entities and what role they play. For example, it can provide a cross-reference of characters against scenes, making it easy to see if a character has mysteriously vanished for a while. Once again, you can group the information in the table and filter the results.

A screenshot of the relationship view in Aeon Timeline.

Project Synchronization

All this functionality is great, but at the end of the day, we need to write our manuscript (and our outline, if you’re like me). One of the pains of managing a timeline is when it comes to editing because you’re now handling the information in multiple places. Aeon Timeline attempts to alleviate this by providing built-in project synchronization with two popular manuscript tools: Scrivener and Ulysses. Connect your timeline to a project in one of these tools, and you get some cool abilities:

  • Selectively import scenes directly from your writing project to the timeline.
  • Link properties in your timeline to metadata in your project and sync the information (including start and end date/times).
  • Two-way sync connected events with your project (update your timeline with changes from the manuscript/outline and update the manuscript/outline with changes from the timeline).
Aeon Timeline syncing with a Scrivener project. Screenshot saved from Aeon Timeline website: https://www.aeontimeline.com/features/data-exchange/

Alternatives

As I mentioned up top, Aeon Timeline isn’t the only way you ca. keep track of your story’s timeline. You can do it physically with sticky notes on a wall, or you could track it in a word/google doc file or a spreadsheet. If you use writing software like Scrivener, you could track it in scene metadata and create binder views to display the timeline of events. But when I set out looking for a tool, I had some specific requirements:

  • Simple tracking: I find keeping tracks of dates in spreadsheets or outline files cumbersome.
  • Visualizations: I hate looking at a table of dates and would much rather see a visual timeline of events to help me think through sequencing.
  • Minimal duplication: I didn’t want to be double entering information in my story bible, project, and timeline.

Caveat

As I noted at the start of this article, Aeon Timeline advertises it is also a product for project managers and other professionals. I’m not making any representations as to the suitability of the tool for anything other than writing, as I haven’t used it for anything else.

Try it out

Aeon Timeline provide a free, twenty-day trial to see if you like the software. It’s available on Windows, macOS, and iOS. The developer has more information on their website, here.

Note: Aeon Timeline have offered members of the Writing Bloc a discount. Join our slack channel to get more details.

Thoughts?

Have you used Aeon Timeline? We’d love to hear your thoughts/experiences with the tool: Do you like it? Do you still use it? What are the best and worst features? Join us in our Facebook group to discuss.

We also discuss Aeon Timeline on our latest podcast episode on World-building. You can listen to that by clicking here.

Disclaimer

The author paid for their copy of Aeon Timeline. The Writing Bloc do not have a commercial relationship with the developers of Aeon Timeline and do not receive any referral incentives or commissions (nor have they asked for such).

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Categories
podcast Writing Help

Approaching World-Building: Featuring Author Rachael Sparks (Writing Bloc Podcast Episode 3)

The third episode of our Writing Bloc podcast is now live over on Podbean (or via the embedded player below). This time, the amazing Rachael Sparks, author of the hard sci-fi thriller “Resistant,” discusses the art of world-building with your hosts, Christopher Lee and AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR Jacqui Castle. There’s plenty in this episode to enjoy, from a discussion of different world-building approaches and resources to another appearance from the Writing Goat.

Resources/links

Digitized resources from the New York Public Library: https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/

The Novel Factory: https://www.novel-software.com/

World-Building Warrior: https://www.well-storied.com/worldbuilding-warrior

Get your own Writing Goat T-Shirt HERE: http://bit.ly/WritingGoatShirt

Continue the conversation!

Chime in with resources, tips, tricks, and questions on one of our channels: Slack, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Categories
Anthology News News Writing Life

ESCAPE! Cover reveal and ARC giveaway!

Here at The Writing Bloc we have big plans, starting with an Anthology we are releasing in the New Year. On 1 January 2019 we are publishing Escape! An Anthology featuring twenty diverse stories by a great cohort of writers.

“As readers, we open books ready to be swept out of our seats and deposited in a world entirely new and exciting. Reading is an escape from our normal lives and thoughts,” says Michael Haase, founder of Writing Bloc.

Inside the book, you can expect contemporary fiction, westerns, science fiction, fantasy, paranormal fiction, as well as genre-bending tales. We have stories by published authors such as Tahani Nelson, author of The Last Faoii, Jason Pomerance, author of Women Like Us, and Patrick Edwards, author of Space Tripping. We also have stories from a number of talented emerging writers who you’ll want to get to know. You can read the full press release here.

Today, I’m excited to reveal our cover!

Cover for Escape! An Anthology by The Writing Bloc

ARC Giveaway

Would you like to receive one of 100 free advanced reader copies we’re giving away? You can sign up on this form here.

 

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Categories
Best Of Lists

The Twenty Books that Most Influence Us

Here at the Writing Bloc we have a growing community of authors, aspiring authors, and avid readers. We’ve tapped into that community and asked them to tell us which books have been the most influential to their own writing. The question prompted a fascinating conversation in our Facebook group and the creation of this impressive list. Check it out, then feel free to join the conversation on FB.

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Guest Post

Guest post: writing a killer fight scene

Writing a crisp, adrenaline-pumping fight scene can be a challenge. Today we have a guest post from Kelsey Rae Barthel to examine how she approaches hers. Here’s Kelsey…

One of the most frequent compliments I have received about my first published book, Beyond the Code, is that readers love my fight scenes. My process for constructing these scenes is truly a love-hate relationship for me but I can’t argue with the results.

Writing the fight scene

Here are some tips on how you can make your own exciting and interesting action scenes:

  • Plan every step: The keystone to a good action sequence in writing, as well as film, is careful choreography. It is imperative when writing a stimulating fight scene that you plan out literally every step, every move, and every attack. It all needs to be plotted out ahead of time before you write a word. This method will insure that you don’t lose your audience in a confusing mess of movements that don’t mesh. Like a puzzle, it all has to fit together flawlessly to make the big picture.
  • Make it interesting: Another big part of weaving a pumping fight scene that will leap out at your readings is to constantly change up the moves. You can’t be satisfied with simple tit for tat throw down. You have to concentrate on making every attack inventive and new. Every battle is different and your warriors have to react and adapt to the changes. Keep it dynamite and always remember that there is always more than one way to accomplish your goal.
  • But also, keep it grounded: Despite my previous talking point about keeping things interesting, it’s equally as important to keep your action grounded in reality to an extent. Now, keep in mind, I don’t mean you have to only write action that would happen in real life. Fantastic powers are a norm in genres like fantasy or science fiction. What I’m talking about is keeping the action grounded in what could happen in your world. If you go too far out of the realm of possibility, you may be breaking your readers’ suspension of disbelief. You always want your readers to believe that what’s happening is possible in the context of your story.
  • Last but not least, don’t lose track of your characters: Above all else, remember your characters and what they can do. If one character that is involved in the fight has an ability to end it easily, you can’t conveniently forget about it in favour of a more drawn out brawl. Your readers won’t forget those details and will not hesitate to ask why you didn’t remember. You can either place a piece of dialog explaining why the character couldn’t end things easily or take them out altogether. Also, don’t lose track of the other characters in the scene. Realistically, if two people are fighting, their friends or comrades won’t just stand by while it happens. You can’t trap your side characters in a realm of inaction.

I hope you were able to draw some wisdom from my experience and I hope other writers out there decide to join me in writing action packed throw downs.

 

Kelsey Rae Barthel

Photo of Kelsey Rae BarthelToday’s guest post has been submitted by Kelsey Rae Barthel, author of Beyond the Code. Kelsey Rae Barthel grew up in the quiet town of Hay Lakes in Alberta, a sleepy place of only 500 people. Living in such a calm setting gave her a lot of spare time to imagine grand adventures of magic and danger, inspired by the comic books and anime she enjoyed. Upon graduating high school, Kelsey moved to Edmonton and eventually began working in the business of airline cargo, but she never stopped imagining those adventures. Beyond the Code is her first novel.

 

 

Beyond the Code

Check out Kelsey’s novel Beyond the Code.

Cover for Beyond the CodeTo the common world, Aurora Falon is merely the pampered daughter of a rich and influential family. But to the secret world of The Order, she is Luna, the powerful and formidable warrior knight, under the rule of her master, Cole Iver. Together, they strive to bring down Damon Lexus, a wicked master who uses her knights in cowardly and dishonourable ways for her own selfish desires. But when they obtain evidence that may bring Damon Lexus under the judgement of The Order’s ruling power, The Hand Council, Damon makes a rash decision and orders the assassination of Cole Iver.

By pure coincidence, Luna catches Damon’s knight in the act but is too late to save her master and kills the assassin in a moment of grief stricken rage. Luna knows the one with her master’s blood on her hands is not the one she killed, she seeks the assassin’s master. But after a failed attempt at revenge, Luna is pulled from the depths of her dark anger and put on a better path by the Hunter who was ordered to kill her. Together, they will work to break away from being mere tools for the powerful and become heroes.

You can find Beyond the Code in the following places:

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Writing Life

How to Win at Conventions

So, you want to go to a convention. Maybe you’ve attended conventions before, but now you want to go professionally — to make contacts, sell books, or to be a celebrity. Depending on the convention you attend, a booth/table could set you back a lot of money, so how do you make sure your con is successful?

We’ve spoken with several members of the Writing Bloc community who have attended conventions and compiled their tips for planning and executing a successful convention.

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Author Interview Writing Life

Interview with Cari Dubiel: Marketing books at conventions

This interview is part of a short series looking at marketing and selling books at conventions. You can find my interview with Rick Heinz here and my earlier interview with Rochelle Campbell here. In this post, I talk to Cari Dubiel. Stay tuned for my consolidated advice article dropping in the next few days.

Cari Dubiel

Cari DubielCari Dubiel is the author of How to Remember, forthcoming from Inkshares/Quill. The novel was the winner of the Hugh Holton award from the Mystery Writers of America – Midwest Chapter in 2017. Cari’s previous works include All the Lonely People, a book of short stories, and several other short stories found in anthologies and online magazines. Cari is also a librarian, and she served as the Library Liaison to Sisters in Crime for five years.

 

What conventions have you attended? Why did you pick those conventions? In hindsight, were those reasons valid?

I’ve attended the American Library Association and/or the Public Library Association conference every year since 2012. That was the year I started as Library Liaison to Sisters in Crime, which is a national organization of mystery readers and writers. My term ended in 2017. In that role, my job was to bring writers and librarians together – to help writers sell books and make partnerships with librarians, and to help librarians make connections with writers for their collections and public programming. Since I am both a writer and a librarian, this was an ideal way for me to get started learning about the convention experience. I’ve met so many interesting people and discovered some amazing books, and I’ve learned about the promotion experience from the writer’s side – something I didn’t know about at all before I joined Sisters in Crime. Since then, I’ve also attended some strictly writing conventions, and it’s been a strange but rewarding experience to switch back and forth between the two parts of my identity. This has been a fabulous experience for me, and while I might make different decisions if I were to do it again (see below), it was the right path at the time.

What were your objectives for the conventions you attended (e.g. Direct books sales, online sales, Facebook likes, email list sign-ups, etc.)? Do you feel you achieved those objectives?

We could not sell books directly at the conference, but we wanted to get face time between the librarians and the authors, so we set up signing times for each author with book giveaways. We also collected e-mail addresses. Each author was allowed to collect their own data, since we didn’t want to share organizational data due to privacy concerns. Authors would often have a newsletter mailing list for librarians to join. They also had bookmarks that librarians could use to order the titles when they got back to their library.

It was very tough to measure the success of the booth, because we didn’t have the sales data to draw from. I talked to every author after their signing time. Some were happy and others were… not so happy. I learned a lot about managing author expectations.

What was your strategy for engagement at the conventions? What did you have on display? How did you draw people in and engage? Did you have any incentives? Did you have physical copies of your books on hand?

Yes, we had tons of swag and giveaways. I mentioned the bookmarks – we also had pins and tote bag freebies. We allowed authors who couldn’t be there to send in copies of their books for giveaway. The free books were the biggest draw, especially when the author was there in the booth to sign them. Librarians – and I think readers in general – love to interact with writers and get personalized books. We also had an iPad giveaway for getting on the mailing list, so we usually collected about 500 e-mails per conference.

What did you feel worked well?

The quality of the interaction between the author and the reader was key. ALA brings in about 25,000 people per year. Not everyone who came by the booth wanted to talk to us – they grabbed free stuff and disappeared. When we were able to talk to readers and librarians about what they wanted, and people were able to make connections, cool stuff happened. I made connections with lots of people in the publishing industry, which has ultimately helped me to promote my work outside of conference-land. I hope the other authors I’ve worked with over the years have had similar experiences.

What didn’t work, or not as well as you had hoped?

My main concern was that we were not reaching everyone in our target audience. Not everyone can afford to travel and come to a big conference. I felt there were other ways to reach librarians online or through state and local conferences. When I transitioned my role over to the new Library Liaison, Shari Randall, we talked about ways to do that more strategically. I’m meeting up with her at this year’s ALA to talk about ways we can use our data and experiences to reach more people.

What other lessons have you learnt?

Authors have to think critically about how they use their conference time and how they distribute their swag. Bookmarks, while great, did not get taken as often as they hoped – and they’re expensive! Free books are also expensive, but readers love them, and if they read them, they might review and pass them on. Choosing the right conference/convention is also critical. Because I’m a librarian, ALA worked well for me, but I struggled in the writing-only space. I’m still getting used to that, and I still have a lot to learn in that arena.

I’ve seen some of my friends who write fantasy have great success in fan conventions and medieval faires. That, too, is part of knowing your audience. You have to go to the place where your readers go. ALA was a good opportunity for Sisters in Crime members because librarians and library patrons love mysteries.

Do you plan to attend more conventions to promote your book?

Yes! I won’t go to ALA every year now that I have stepped down from SinC, but I’m going to New Orleans this summer, and I can’t wait. I’m also looking forward to learning more about how to sell books at conventions and conferences!

How to Remember

Book Cover for How to RememberThank you to Cari for sharing her experiences with us. Cari is the author of How to Remember, which is currently in production with Inkshares. I encourage you to check it out.

2017: A woman tries to find out what happened to her during the year she lost her memory. 2016: A man tries to find out who killed his mother. They fell in love once, but she doesn’t remember it.

 

 

You can also find Cari online in the following places:

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Categories
Author Interview Guest Post Writing Life

Guest Post: A Writer’s Convention Survival Guide, by Christopher Huang

Continuing our series on marketing yourself and your books at conventions, we have a special guest post from author Christopher Huang. In this article Huang summarizes his experiences with mystery and crime conventions, which, as he tells us, can be very different to a popular culture convention. It’s all about knowing the event you are attending and your reasons for being there. I’ll let Chris take it from here…

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Categories
Author Interview Writing Life

Interview with Rick Heinz: Selling your book at conventions

This post was originally posted here and is part of a series looking at marketing and selling books at conventions. You can find my earlier interview with Rochelle Campbell here. In this post, I talk to Rick Heinz. Stay tuned for next week’s interview with Cari Dubiel and my consolidated advice article.

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Categories
Writing Life

Twelve things to include in your book proposal

Are you querying agents or publishers and wondering what to put in your book proposal? We’ve got twelve things for you to consider that may make a huge difference. Check it out!

Like a lot of the publishing process, writing a book proposal can be daunting. What do you include? What do you leave out? Last year, I was incredibly lucky to attend a master class by Bradley Trevor Greive, the world’s best-selling humorist, having published 24 books and sold more than 30m copies in over 115 territories. He shared with the class what he puts into his book proposals and gave me permission to blog about it. Note: I’m not trying to recreate the master class content here, you’ll need to attend one of his classes for that (I highly recommend them). This is a condensed summary that I hope you’ll find useful.

What even is a book proposal?

It’s what you submit to a publisher or an agent when asking them to take you on, introducing yourself and your book. If they like your book proposal, then you may get to give them your completed manuscript. See my post on the traditional publishing process here.

As we drop into this, remember, your book proposal is a sales document, a fact that should sit foremost in your mind as you craft it.

What goes into a book proposal?

There are three parts of a book proposal:

  1. A cover letter.
  2. The actual book proposal.
  3. A writing sample.

Cover letter

The cover letter is exactly what it sounds like; a letter of introduction you write to the agent / editor you are pitching to. Outside of your book, this is the most important thing you write; a bad letter can kill your submission. “If you can’t write a letter, you can’t write a book.”

The purpose of the cover letter is to:

  • Introduce yourself.
  • Introduce your book.
  • Make them want more.

The key to your cover letter (and every other part of the submission), is to be brief and compelling. These people receive hundreds or even thousands of proposals each year, do not waste their time. “Get in, get out, delight.” Some basic rules:

  • No more than 300 words.
  • Don’t share your life story (that first time you read Harry Potter and knew you wanted to be come a writer? It isn’t going to make them buy your manuscript).
  • Do tell them why you want to work with them.

typewriter typing the word proposal

Book proposal

Getting a book published can be a lengthy and complicated process (see here). To maximize your chance of success, you need to do more than convince the agent / editor you have written a good book, you need to make it easy for them to sell it up the chain. The book proposal should include all the information and selling points that will:

  1. Sell the book to your agent, and
  2. Help your agent sell your book to your editor, and
  3. Help your editor sell your book to your publisher, and
  4. Help your publisher sell your book to the publishing board.

The following is a basic outline of what the book proposal should include:

  1. Book title and author’s name.
  2. Overview
    The elevator pitch / longline. A brief, compelling description explaining what your book is about (genre and subject). Keep it very short but try to inject your personality into it.
  3. Market comparison
    Compare your book to two best-selling titles that your work resembles in some meaningful way. If you haven’t seen a “comp” before, they tend to be in the format “Puff the Magic Dragon meets The Walking Dead”. Ensure that at least one title is a current or recent release.
  4. Target audience
    Who will purchase this book, what is your primary audience? Demographic information on who reads books in your genre may not be easy to obtain. Search the internet, read book reviews of similar books. If all else fails, put
    “women 18-45”. This is the largest demographic for books overall and is the “default.”
    Note: you can list more than one demographic.
  5. Production notes
    Does the book require anything specific to be produced? Colour images, special paper stock, finishes, or new technology?
  6. Additional resources needed to complete this book
    Is there anything you need the publisher to provide to help you finish the book? Photographs, illustrations, a paper engineer?
    For example, if you have a specific illustrator you want, name them. If there’s a specific style of illustration you want, provide examples.
  7. Completion date
    When will the manuscript (and / or your illustrations) be finished? The correct answer for a new / emerging author is typically “now.”
  8. Launch / Promotion
    Marketing advantages and suggestions to maximize the impact of your book. This is your chance to be creative and come up with ideas.
  9. Media / Social Media Presence
    Do you have a media profile of note? How big is your social media following? How strongly do they engage? Do you have a strategy for building that platform?
  10. Commercial extensions
    Could your book be the basis of TV / Film / Theatre Production, toys, greeting cards, video games, board games, apps, clothing, etc?
    Note: this can be useful, but keep it all “on brand.”
  11. Future projects
    What else do you have planned? If you’re planning one or more sequels, talk about it here (none of these projects need to be completed). If you have unrelated projects planned, you can talk to those too. Ideally, you want a long-term, positive relationship, so show them you have more than one story in you.
  12. Author Bio
    Keep it short and surprising. The least important part of the submission. Unless you’re famous, or there’s something in your story particularly important to the current story (e.g. a PHD in the topic of your non-fiction book), it isn’t that important.

Writing sample

This is your actual writing — the thing you want them to publish. However, when submitting your initial book proposal, you don’t give them the whole thing, only a sample. If they like what you’ve submitted, they’ll ask for more.

The length and format of your writing sample will vary publisher to publisher. Each will have a guide for submissions and you must follow it. If your proposal is for a novel or other long-form work, you will likely be asked for a synopsis as well. Again, each publisher will have their own expectations for a synopsis and you must follow their guidelines. Look up these guidelines online — if you can’t find them on the publisher’s website, check writer’s marketplace.

The sample itself is fairly explanatory — select a section of your work that best shows your writing style / skills. It doesn’t need to be from the beginning. Follow the guidelines for length and format and you’ll be right.

Synopses can be more confusing, and a search of the internet will reveal countless authors complaining about them. At their heart, a synopsis is a breakdown of the story, showing the structure and key events and proving you’ve planned everything out. Some publishers like a relatively long, detailed synopsis, others prefer a two to three page “cliff notes” version. Either way, the goal is to summarize the important plot-points of the novel. There is a huge amount of discussion and material on synopses out there, and I’m not going to reproduce all of it. The best piece of advice I’ll relay is this:

  • A synopsis may be heavily summarized, but it is still an exercise in story-telling. Try to inject your voice into it and give it personality.
  • Don’t focus on the physical events (though you will include the important ones), focus on the drama. What are the impacts of those events, what choices are the characters faced with?

In summary, for the writing sample:

  • Read / follow the submission guidelines!
  • Do not send your entire book.
  • Choose the best sample of your work, not the first chapter.
  • Keep your synopsis brief, showcase structure, highlight drama.
  • Add your personality to everything.
  • Less is more.

pen checking boxes on list

Final Submission Checklist:

  • Intro letter (300 words or less). Compelling intro / sales document, not your life story.
  • Book proposal summary (less than 2 pages).
  • Writing sample as per submission guidelines.
  • Additional flourishes to set you apart / make you memorable (no gifts).
  • A very small selection of credible press clippings and / glowing reviews. One, maybe two.
  • Don’t forget to include your contact details.

How to submit

Electronic submissions are fine. If you are submitting a physical submission, don’t use regular mail.

If you have a contact you are targeting (agent / editor), don’t send to the standard submission address — you’ll go straight into the slush pile. Send it to the person you are pitching to.

Join the conversation!

Have we missed something? Do you have an experience to share? Chat to us about it on twitter!

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