Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Stand Out In A Crowd

You have all read time and time again about the number of submissions agents and editors receive daily, weekly and monthly. I remember specifically when Kensington Editor, Hillary Sares once described the weekly stack over 4 foot tall in the corner of her office of submissions. Now, we might not have that physical stack any more, but we do have emails that seem to go on for pages and pages. With that said, you need to think about how your first impression comes across in that query and in that submission.

I always love receiving submissions following a major conference such as the RWA National conference. Suddenly, all of the submissions start looking alike. No, I am not talking about the stories, I'm talking about the queries and the synopses. It becomes very clear which session the writers attended. In fact, I can often go so far as knowing who the presenter was based on the information. Although the information the presenter provided to the group was accurate, and the submission certainly contained all of the necessary information, there was one huge downfall. Each of those submissions looked exactly like each other and therefore, didn't stand out as something unique.

While I am not personally a big fan of the movie LEGALLY BLONDE, I do think there is something we can pull from this movie that relates perfectly to this. Remember how she submitted her resumes? Pink paper and scented. Her goal was simple. She wanted the potential employer to remember her as they waded through the tons of other applicants.

Please note, I am not saying to start scenting your submissions or doing something stupid. What I am saying is to find a way to make that submission stand out. You want me to not only see the story as being well written and exciting, but also something fresh and new. What you don't want is for me to look at your project and log into my data base "same old same old."

So how do you do it? The answer is simple.

First of all, go ahead and use those seminar notes. Make sure you have, ready to go, all of the necessary elements for that submission. Now, think of how YOU want to tell your story. What is unique about YOU as a writer. What makes YOUR voice different (and yet not psychotically strange) compared to all of those other stories out there.

I will tell you, that in some cases the problem does lie with the story. Carbon copies of things already out there are not going to make it. Sure some slip through the cracks, but we're talking about the long term life of your career here.

Find a way to stand out and you may see more requests (and hopefully even some more offers).


1 comment:

  1. So, pink and scented is out. How do you feel about goldenrod with an embeded mp3 playing Wackity Sax? ;)