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Tips, Inspiration, & Resources

What Publishers Look For On Your First Page, and other submission tips.

Querying can be a lonely, scary business. You send out these pages you've been laboring over for months, years, and sometimes it feels like it's been dropped into a black hole. It feels like it's out of your control, and in many ways it is. However, there are some things you can do to give your submissions the chance they deserve. 

 

THE FIRST PAGE OF YOUR BOOK.

 

Why is your first page all-important? Because it's all about grabbing the reader's attention. Think about what you do when you're browsing for a book in a bricks-and-mortar bookstore or online. First, it's the title and cover art that attract you. Then, you read the cover blurb. If it's catchy and appealing enough, you'll open the book to read the first page. If the first page doesn't grab you, you might not be patient enough to read the second page. Then you're on to the next book. 

 

Multiply your short attention span by at least a factor of 10, and you can imagine how little time an agent or an agent's assistant has to read through dozens of queries in a single day. If the first part of the query, which should read pretty much like jacket copy, doesn't grab them, they may not even read the first line of your first page, let alone your entire first page. And if that first page isn't gripping, then it's on to the next query. 

 

So how do you make that page compelling?

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