Tag Archives: nicola morgan

Emma Maree Reviews: Dear Agent

Book: Dear Agent by Nicola Morgan

Genre: Non-Fiction/Writing Advice

You’ve written the best book you can and you believe there are readers for it, but how do you persuade an agent or publisher to take it on? The first thing they will see is your letter or email and this short document must sell your book, make it stand out from the crowd, make it (and you) desirable.

Dear Agent contains detailed expert advice, covering the best structure for your letter, what to put in (and what to leave out), the answers to the questions writers ask, and all the horrible mistakes to avoid. Make your book stand out for all the right reasons.

This is a sister book to Write A Great Synopsis, but this time the focus is on UK-style covering letters to help you net a UK agent. UK covering letters are a lot more laid back than US queries (by which I mean you won’t get instantly rejected dun dun duuun if it’s not perfect) but they’re still important enough to stress writers out.

“Dear Agent” is a short, sweet, and to-the-point read that covers all the important questions, such as should I mention multiple books, being rejected, my pets, or that my mum liked it…

It also pays special attention to the tricky bits: that dreaded hook, how to write the bio section even if nothing very interesting has happened to you, and how to inject a bit of personality into the letter. It covers both fiction and non-fiction, multiple Points of View, and other sticky situations that can make the thought of summing it up in a letter more nerve-wracking than it needs to be.

If you’re new to the submission process, or trying out the UK system for the first time after submitting in the US, then this is a great starting point. Authors who’ve been submitting in the UK or US will already be familiar with a lot of the advice, but the tips are still useful no matter how long you’ve been wading in the query trenches.

Emma Maree Reviews: Write a Great Synopsis

Book: Write a Great Synopsis by Nicola Morgan

Genre: Non-Fiction/Writing Advice

Most writers hate writing synopses. They need dread them no more. In Write a Great Synopsis – An Expert Guide, Nicola Morgan takes the stress out of the subject and applies calm, systematic guidance, with her renowned no-nonsense approach and laconic style.

Write a Great Synopsis covers: the function of a synopsis, the differences between outlines and synopses, dealing with requirements for different agents and publishers, finding the heart of your book, how to tackle non-linear plots, multiples themes, sub-plots and long novels, and it answers all the questions and confusions that writers have. Nicola also introduces readers to her patent Crappy Memory Tool, explains the art of crafting a 25-word pitch, and demonstrates with real examples. Gold-dust for writers at all stages.

I’ve been waiting on tip-toes for this book to be released – synopses are tricky stuff to write, and it’s always nice to get an expert’s tips on them. While the UK publishing industry is a little more friendly than the US industry there’s a lot less information available online about it. We’ve got The Writer & Artist’s Yearbook, Carole Blake’s From Pitch to Publication, and now there’s Nicola Morgan with Write A Great Synopsis and her more general industry advice book Write to be Published. The best part about it – WAGS is only £1 in January! You can buy in here from Amazon UK.

Nicola’s book is a short and snappy read that covers all the bases – the only thing I would have liked is a more formulaic method, which tends to work best for me (Susan Dennard’s method worked a charm for me recently). Nicola’s recommendations don’t rely on a formula or a section break down, but this this allows her methods to work for a much wider range of stories. Her tips work brilliantly for both your run-of-the-mill 3 Act stories and for non-fiction and fiction that doesn’t follow a standard structure. She even includes some particularly useful advise for books that jump around, include flashbacks, or have multiple endings.

This is a succinct and brilliant book, and I recommend it for any writers (UK, US or otherwise) who’re tearing their hair out getting that synopsis written.