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Open Submissions window for MG authors

#3
Huh. They think MG is 8 - 12 with readers up to 14? That's news to me. I wonder if I should bug them? Hmmm...
Everybody has their own way of categorizing. In the US - MG usually means 8 to 12, but it can go to 14/15 ( also called tween) but in the UK it seems MG is more that 12 to 15 range. Weird.
 
#4
MG is really a US term which is starting to infiltrate over here. Books in UK stores are usually shelved as 5-7, 8-12 and YA. Hence MG being linked to 8-12. But the 8-12 category does have a pretty broad spread!
 
#5
Sorry, my confusion was not on the age range for MG, as that varies by publisher, really. My confusion was that they would consider such old protagonists for said books. I've not seen any books pitched at 8 year olds that star 14 year old teenagers. Those two people would be worlds apart, with little common ground in their outlook on life.

Still, I'll submit, though my protagonist is actually 15. They can only say no ;)
 
#6
Sorry, my confusion was not on the age range for MG, as that varies by publisher, really. My confusion was that they would consider such old protagonists for said books. I've not seen any books pitched at 8 year olds that star 14 year old teenagers. Those two people would be worlds apart, with little common ground in their outlook on life.

Still, I'll submit, though my protagonist is actually 15. They can only say no ;)

OOOOH! I see...maybe i read wrong then. yeah, that´s certainly not right!
 
#7
Children tend to like to "read up", i.e. stories with older children rather than those of their own age or younger. I like this definition of MG which fits my own book nicely, which isn't punchy enough for YA (which makes me think of dystopian fiction or stories of anguished teenagers and sex & violence), but is aimed at 11-14 year olds who like an exciting story without all the YA angst.
 
#9
Ah, i see what you mean. 12 y o kids will definitely read about a 14 y o or 15 y o protagonist so you shouldn’t have a problem.
 
#10
Out of interest, has anyone submitted to these chaps? I only ask as I wanted to know what you did about a synopsis? They ask for one as part of the submission, but @AgentPete's words of warning regarding them still ring in my ears.

What to do?
 
#12
I sent them my standard 1 page synopsis. What were the words of warning? I missed that!
@AgentPete is much afeared of synopses! He thinks they have no place in a civilized submission and that we should be skeptical of those who demand one.
I think they are rubbish too. Even if we are not talking about the more technical style of document as Pete references, they are just a bit pants. Trying to sum up a whole novel in a few paragraphs is just not going to do anyone any favours.

I think the main issue is what is meant. Pete sees them as a cold, clear list of events as they unfold in your book; something to only be used by the author to keep them on track. Others want a sort of 'dust jacket' summary. Some even want a stylised mix of both, that hints at all the major events in the book (including ending) without being clinical about it.
 

Carol Rose

Guardian
Staff member
Ambassador
#14
Most publishers still want them, so it's best to learn how to write one, no matter what you may personally feel about them. But I've always learned to write them as exactly what the word means - a brief summary or general survey. I've never been asked to write one like the blurbs found on the back of a physical book. Maybe it's a genre thing?

When I write one, I simply summarize the goals, motivations, and conflicts of my two main characters. It's their story, after all. And since I was also taught to include the ending, I do. The reason for this is because the publisher wants to see that you have a cohesive story, and one which resolves the conflicts. They definitely aren't stylized. They're boring and clinical, but that's fine because their function is not to sell the book. Their function is to summarize the story.

I think somewhere along the line they became confused or entangled with the pitch in a query letter, which is quite different. There, you are definitely trying to sell the book. But a synopsis is only a summary. As I said, perhaps it's a genre thing? I don't know. I've only ever pitched romance, and the only time I'm asked to provide a blurb that's meant to entice the reader is after the book has been accepted.

Here is the most comprehensive article I've found on how to write one. Hope it helps. :)

How to Write a Novel Synopsis | Jane Friedman
 
#15
When I write one, I simply summarize the goals, motivations, and conflicts of my two main characters.
That is a solid piece of advice, cheers.
I've already written all three versions of the synopsis (three times, actually, but enough about my crazy) so I am good to go. It just always seems odd to me, listing a story you've worked so hard on as a few sentences of iterative events.
But, it must be done, so there we are!
 
#16
I had to write a very detailed synopsis for a screenwriting project. It´s like going to a dentist appointment. But, in the end, it really helped me stay on track and have a clearer view of where the story was going and where it was having trouble.
 
#17
I had to write a very detailed synopsis for a screenwriting project. It´s like going to a dentist appointment. But, in the end, it really helped me stay on track and have a clearer view of where the story was going and where it was having trouble.
Yeah, this I get. The detailed - as Pete would say - 'technical documents' I fully understand and use. I have a whole wall of white board that I plan out on and have several spare documents per project that are just there to order events and balance out how the plot is delivered. For me, as a writer, I get the point of that document. For submissions, I don't. I can see why they would want a 'dust jacket' synopsis, just to give them a broader flavour of where you are planning to take the reader, but a full breakdown of plot makes me want to run a mile.

And this is the thing. The list of agents I have made that I plan to submit this book to all want different things. Some are vague - like the guys this thread is about - saying they just want a '1 page synopsis (max? min? what detail? throw me a bone, people!). Some want the full blow by blow breakdown. Some have crazy demands such as the synopsis being no more than 100 words or three lines, and yet they don't specify what they want to know.

My point is, I think that agents and publishers need to get their damn act together and be far more clear about what they want! This process is already hard enough, thank ye kindly! :p
 
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Carol Rose

Guardian
Staff member
Ambassador
#18
It is frustrating when they ask for one but they don't give you specifics. In that case, you can't really go wrong with a basic one as Jane Friedman outlines in that blog article.

Evernight asks for a one-page synopsis, so I have that down to a science now. :) In fact, I usually write it once I've got the first 10K or so done on the story. It helps me stay on track as I write the rest of the book, and then I can simply revise the synopsis when the story takes a different turn. Translation: when my characters have their own ideas about where the book is going. :) But this way, it's done when I'm done with the book and ready to submit it.

Siren-BookStrand wanted no more than 300 words, which was way more challenging. It had to be very bare bones. "They met, they kissed a few times, she hated him, he pushed to keep seeing her, they finally had sex, it was kinky, they fell in love, the end." LOL!! ;)
 

AgentPete

Capo Famiglia
#19
@AgentPete I think the main issue is what is meant. Pete sees them as a cold, clear list of events as they unfold in your book; something to only be used by the author to keep them on track. Others want a sort of 'dust jacket' summary. Some even want a stylised mix of both, that hints at all the major events in the book (including ending) without being clinical about it.
You need to be able to competently produce both types, and understand the differing circumstances for each type's use.
 
#20
You need to be able to competently produce both types, and understand the differing circumstances for each type's use.
Sure, and I am 100% able to do this. My issue is that you would not believe how many agencies simply say that they require 'a synopsis'. Which is, like totally helpful :rolleyes:
 
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