It has been a while since my last post, mainly because my maternity leave ended in April; my writing took a temporary back seat while I got into the groove of returning to my full time day job. This month has been easier as I am back into the swing of both work and writing. However, I have found that getting my novel out to publishers is not as straightforward as it seems. Having to change formatting from one publisher to the next is to be expected: Times New Roman for one, whereas Book Antiqua for another, page numbers in the footer versus the header, etc. Occasionally though, a publisher wants the synopsis to be one paragraph instead of a page, and in one instance, I had to expand my synopsis to six detailed pages. After spending many edits whittling it down to fit it onto a page, it was a good challenge to have to expand it, while still keeping the details relevant to the plot.

Standing out from the rest

The real challenge for a writer though, is getting their work noticed on the slushpile. How does one go about making their work stand out from the rest?

Make a big entrance

This is where the cover letter comes in. I looked up many examples of well-written cover letters before I tackled my own and what they all had in common was to make a grand entrance – metaphorically speaking, at least. Some posed a question to the publisher about the characters or scenarios from their book. Others launched into a paragraph on their fast-paced plotline to hook the reader. I decided on a combination of both. Does it work? Too early to say yet as I have only been submitting since November. But once I get myself either a publisher or an agent (with any luck) I’ll write a follow-up post on this topic. Here’s hoping!

About Leilanie Stewart

Leilanie Stewart is a novelist and poet. Her debut novel, Gods of Avalon Road was published by Blossom Spring Publishing in October 2019 and her second novel, The Buddha's Bone is forthcoming in October 2021. Leilanie has also published three poetry collections: The Redundancy of Tautology (Cyberwit, 2021); Chemotherapy for the Soul (Fowlpox Press, 2017); A Model Archaeologist (Eyewear Publishing, 2015) and two self-published pamphlets: Toebirds and Woodlice (Meandi Books, 2012); Metamorphosis of Woman (Meandi Books, 2012), satirical novella Zombie Reflux (Meandi Books, 2014) and surreal novelette, Til Death do us Boneapart (Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, 2017). Leilanie is also Editor in Chief of Bindweed Magazine, a poetry and fiction online magazine that also publishes a quarterly print anthology. She currently lives in Belfast with her writer and poet husband, Joseph Robert and their lively literary tot, a voracious reader of educational books. Literary blog: https://leilaniestewart.com/ Meandi Books: http://meandibooks.bigcartel.com/ Bindweed Magazine: https://bindweedmagazine.wordpress.com/

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