Editing Your Own Book Independent Editors Formatting Your Manuscript Query Letters Composing a Synopsis Writing For Children Links

When you send a query submission to About Words Agency, you receive a query reply form in return, much more than just the standard "yes or no" reply that you may or may not even get from another agency.

Here is an explanation of the fiction query reply form, which necessarily is quite brief, as it is also free of charge or obligation of any kind.

About Words Agency fully complies with AAR Code of Ethics, and never charges any fees. 100% of all income for About Words Agency is from commissions on royalties from books or related rights sales.


Thank you for your submission. Your query indicates your book, although interesting, is not ready yet. Here are some things you may want to look at while revising:

Mechanics (format / grammar / spelling)
Pacing (keep story moving forward)
Plot (clear beginning, middle, end)
Needs a hook to draw reader into the story
Characterization (develop characters more)
Setting (use more of all five senses)
Premise / plausibility / motivation
Drama / suspense / tension

Focus (rambles, doesn’t stay on plot)
Too short / Too long (~100,000 words)
Too much back story / info-dump
Repetition (usually too much telling)
Point of view (1st difficult, same for scene)
Dialogue (stilted, not natural, telling)
Telling vs. showing (passive voice, “was”)
Originality / marketability

□ Need a synopsis to evaluate plot, premise, focus & marketability
□ Include ending in synopsis to evaluate plot & premise
□ Not a category the agency represents (no poetry, religious, true crime)

□ Needs editing - see (list of books below) and/or find a supportive critique group and/or hire an independent editor. Free writer’s resources and advice compiled by us is available online at: http://writers.aboutwords.org


We have personally reviewed and highly recommend the following writing reference books:
Stein On Writing, by Sol Stein (great all-around writing book)
Getting The Words Right, by Theodore Cheney (the best book on general editing)
Write In Style, by Bobbie Christmas (editing with your word processor & other tips)

The Elements of Style, by Strunk, et al (the original and still best on grammar & punctuation)
On Writing, by Stephen King (inspirational and educational)
Writing The Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass (how to write a best selling novel)
Writing The Breakout Novel Workbook, by Donald Maass (the companion workbook)

Writing Creative Nonfiction, by Theodore Cheney (the best for memoirs & bios)

Children's Writer's Word Book, by Alijandra Mogilner (important for age appropriate vocabulary)


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