Strategic title

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work
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Watcher55
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Strategic title

Post by Watcher55 » July 15th, 2011, 2:13 pm

I’m going to start courting British agents since two (among other British authors) of my key influences are J K Rowling and C. S. Lewis, and the work itself is, from its conception, an American Allegory addressed not only to Americans but to our friends and critics as well.

I’m obviously going to need to tailor the query to express my motives, but I wonder if it would be wise to add a subtitle in the subject line of the e-mail?

THE NINTH ADDICT: An American Allegory

This is a title I would be pleased to see in a bookstore. It fits. Would the subtitle be an eye catcher for a British agent, or would it be American (as opposed to English or Spanish) for “Delete me now”?

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maybegenius
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Re: Strategic title

Post by maybegenius » July 15th, 2011, 11:10 pm

Personally, I'd keep the subtitle out. It may imply to some agents that this is a distinctly American story. Also, I've heard (and I agree) that it's generally best not to get too deep into telling a perspective agent about the themes/intent of your novel. It's usually best just to tell them the plot and let them determine the themes/intent themselves.
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Watcher55
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Re: Strategic title

Post by Watcher55 » July 16th, 2011, 9:58 am

British submission guidelines are a bit different:

This is and excerpt from a post (link below): "How To Get An Agent" by Philippa Milnes-Smith
How do I convince an agent that I’m worth taking on?
Start with the basics.

■Make your approach professional.
■Make sure you only approach an appropriate agent who deals with the category of book you are writing/illustrating.
■Check to whom you should send your work and whether there are any particular ways your submission should be made (if it’s not clear from the listings in this Yearbook or the agency’s website).
■Only submit neat, typed work on single-sided A4 paper.
Send a short covering letter with your manuscript explaining what it is, why you wrote it, what the intended audience is and providing any other relevant context.
■Always say if and why you are uniquely placed and qualified to write a particular book.
■Provide your professional credentials, if any. If you are writing an autobiography, justify why it is of public interest and why your experi¬ences set you apart.
■Provide a CV (again, neat, typed, relevant) and a stamped addressed envelope for the return of your manuscript. http://www.writersandartists.co.uk/auth ... -an-agent/
It seems to me that British agents do want to know a bit of the story behind the story. This makes more sense to me because it means they want to know who they're selling as much as much as what they're selling.

The only real problem I have with Ms Milne-Smith's advice is that many of the UK agent websites I've visited in the last 24 hrs ask for a CV as part of the submission package. What the - is a CV?

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Re: Strategic title

Post by Don Zolidis » July 17th, 2011, 9:23 pm

Curriculum Vitae. Essentially a resume, with emphasis on anything that might inform you as a writer.

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markimedes
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Re: Strategic title

Post by markimedes » July 18th, 2011, 8:08 pm

I'm not an agent, but if it was me I'd leave the subtitle off. I'm a Brit, but I don't think that matters. Everything the agent needs to know will be in the letter, so I don't know why you'd be thinking of having a subtitle if it's only there to state where it's set. Not only that, but the only fiction books that come immediately to mind with subtitles are those that are part of a series.

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Re: Strategic title

Post by Watcher55 » July 18th, 2011, 10:48 pm

markimedes wrote:I'm not an agent, but if it was me I'd leave the subtitle off. I'm a Brit, but I don't think that matters. Everything the agent needs to know will be in the letter, so I don't know why you'd be thinking of having a subtitle if it's only there to state where it's set. Not only that, but the only fiction books that come immediately to mind with subtitles are those that are part of a series.
Thanks for this. It actually is the first in a series, but once I started customizing the queries for the individual agents I found the subtitle redundant.

The issue for me now is whether to submit an alternative CV in which I narrate rather that list my qualifications. I understand that it's risky, but it does seem to be acceptable for writers and other artists.

btw - it's not set in America. It's set in Nero's Rome July 19th 64 CE.

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Re: Strategic title

Post by markimedes » July 19th, 2011, 5:25 pm

Watcher55 wrote:btw - it's not set in America. It's set in Nero's Rome July 19th 64 CE.
Apologies, my mistake.

As for the CV, sorry can't help you there. Though looking at it logically, I guess the only thing that matters is that it's easy for the agent to read, giving him/her all the information they need in the least space. No bells or whistles, as they say.

Good luck anyhoo.

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