Two Questions About the Etiqette of Sample Chapters

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work
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Daryl_Blonder
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Two Questions About the Etiqette of Sample Chapters

Post by Daryl_Blonder » May 23rd, 2010, 10:48 pm

1. I've heard that when reading sample chapters, agents generally do not like to see "prologues." But my project is a memoir, so the prologue (which details my family history before I was born) is really more like the first chapter. Does the rule of thumb of no prologues apply when sending memoirs, or would it be acceptable to send one? Should I just renumber it as Chapter 1 for the purpose of the sample?

2. If sending along a sample that is taken from the middle of the story, is it acceptable to send a separate descriptive page as a sort of sidebar that provides background information?

Krista G.
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Re: Two Questions About the Etiqette of Sample Chapters

Post by Krista G. » May 24th, 2010, 11:40 am

1. Daryl_Blonder, I'd probably include the prologue and let the agent decide whether he or she wanted to read it.

2. From everything I've heard, x sample chapters should be the FIRST x chapters of the book. So unless an agent specifically requested to see something besides those beginning chapters, that's what I'd send.
Author of THE REGENERATED MAN (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Winter 2015)
Represented by Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary
www.motherwrite.blogspot.com

Daryl_Blonder
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Re: Two Questions About the Etiqette of Sample Chapters

Post by Daryl_Blonder » May 24th, 2010, 7:00 pm

Thanks for the advice, I'll see how I want to proceed. I'd had the understanding (perhaps incorrect?) that for many agents sending along what you feel is the "best" or "strongest" part of your work is perfectly acceptable for a sample. In the case of my book which is a memoir, it's not an issue of what segments are "better," I just feel like some are the optimal choice when using as a selling point, because my life during, say, high school, was more interesting and poignant than my early childhood, which is what the book begins with.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Two Questions About the Etiqette of Sample Chapters

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 24th, 2010, 10:17 pm

I want to see where the book begins, even if it's not representative of the rest of the book. That's where the editor is going to start reading, so that's where I should start reading too. And if it's not necessary I'd think about cutting it.

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