Inside Scoop: Dish from the Literary Agent Intern

Kickin’ Things Off with a Contest!

8025427_1In my first few weeks interning for Linda, I’ve noticed a recurring theme among some of the query letters: they lack effective loglines (or one is not present). For those of you unfamiliar with this term—or who simply need to brush up on your writing terminology—a logline is a brief statement, usually only a sentence or two, that describes the plot of the story without giving away the ending, and is meant to hook the reader so they want to read more. This is also sometimes referred to as an elevator pitch—it should be short enough to deliver to an agent or editor on an elevator ride, should you ever find yourself in that situation.

A logline is important to include in a query letter as it can start off the letter with a bang. Rather than jumping right into a more detailed synopsis, the logline quickly snags the reader’s attention at the beginning of the query and convinces them that they need to know what this story is all about. Though crafting a strong and enticing logline can be tricky, especially for those of us who are not the most concise in our writing (guilty!), it can really strengthen your query.

So, to start things off, I’m going to hold a logline contest! As my preferred reading material happens to be YA, this contest is only open to loglines for Young Adult novels. (Sorry to those of you who don’t write YA; I had to draw the line somewhere so as not to get overwhelmed early in the game). Linda and I will judge your loglines and the lucky winner will get a copy of Veronica Roth’s DIVERGENT!* Though Linda doesn’t represent Ms. Roth, we are both very excited for the movie to hit theaters in March, and we thought this would be a great prize for all you writers of YA. (Please note that this contest is only open to residents of the United States. Sorry, but international shipping is quite pricey these days.)

Before you all set pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, think about how to best represent your novel in a compelling but concise manner. Even if you don’t win, think of this as a way to get your logline in shape for your next submission. Once you have perfected your logline, post it in the comment box. Only one entry per person (and Linda’s clients can’t enter). The deadline for entering is February 27th at 6:00am EST and the winner will be announced Monday, March 3rd.

Now, get ready…get set…write!

*Here are links to more information about Veronica Roth and Katherine Tegen Books.

Tara Slagle is Linda Epstein‘s current intern. Tara is working toward her M.S. in Publishing at Pace University. After completing her degree she plans to work in the publishing world as either an acquisitions editor or literary agent, focusing on YA and (the emerging) New Adult titles. 

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16 responses to “Inside Scoop: Dish from the Literary Agent Intern

  1. Pingback: Inside Scoop: Dish from a Literary Agent Intern… and the winner is! | The Blabbermouth Blog

  2. Ali M.

    A pirate-obsessed 6th grade girl goes back in time to the year 1717 to break a curse that’s been set on her grandpa. Aboard a ship filled with pirates, she must find a mysterious map and bring it back to present-day but not before fighting for survival for the 22 hours she has to complete her mission.

  3. Rae

    How to lose a guy — and destroy his kingdom — in five days: commit treason, incite an uproar, and reject the king’s marriage proposal at the tip of a sword. Madness, opulence, and intrigue collide when a bipolar heroine returns home to seek revenge in a medieval version of GONE GIRL.

  4. Wendy

    The car accident 17 years ago that left Eva an orphan also left her with both a gift and a curse: she’s got freaky math skills, but also haunting visions that are triggered whenever she touches … well … anyone. So Eva has always found it pretty easy to keep her hands to herself until she meets Zenn, an irresistible yet troubled hottie with his own secrets who miraculously seems to be the antidote to her curse. But when they learn how their lives were permanently tangled together 17 years ago, they both may lose the one person who can give them relief.

  5. When commoner Raisa is chosen to wed the crown prince, she thinks her worst problem will be learning learning to curtsey– until she awakens an ancient and vengeful river elemental that begins a war her country is too weak to win

  6. Irene Squire

    Irene Feb. 26, 2014 7:04 PM

    LOCKED YA Contemporary

    Lacey Ficksett, abandoned to foster care as a child, begins writing the story of her search for family and belonging as she recovers from a breakdown. Haunted by anger toward her biological parents, and feelings of animosity toward her foster parents, Lacey is happiest when she is with her boyfriend Marcello, and, on the rare occasions, when she gets to visit with Granny Murano. Two weeks before her senior year in high school a storm watch is announced in South Florida and Lacey’s world starts coming apart.

  7. Carmella

    After her big brother is shoved out of the closet – and then out of the house – 16-year-old Kelsey finds herself in her own proverbial closet of fear, anger, and confusion. Especially around her homophobic best friends. But when a gay classmate is bullied, Kelsey must weigh the costs of hiding out and speaking out.

  8. A chance spin on a merry-go-round leaves Harper Mallory once again able to tell time, remember her birthday and count the change in her pocket; but only for a short while. So when she arrives at the playground one evening to spin and finds her merry-go-round being loaded onto the back of a truck, Harper stows away and ends up in the deep south, at the home of a carnival-ride collector and his surprisingly kind and normal son, Monte.

  9. Belligerent foster girl Bonnie leads wallflower Sarah to believe they share an abusive past–something Sarah works hard to keep secret and something Bonnie lies freely about. Both girls want to be loved, but the lie might break their friendship apart.

  10. Derek thinks the carnival fundraiser is lame until the fortune teller’s message triggers a past life experience that changes everything he knew about his grandfather and solves the town’s most baffling mystery..

  11. When a 12-year old private eye confronts the school bully, she fully expects her life to end. What she doesn’t expect is to end someone else’s.

  12. Emily Weaver

    AMERICAN PRINCESS YA Contemporary

    When Lyndon, an average Iowa teenager, learns that she is the illegitimate daughter of the newly elected president, her life is turned upside down. It doesn’t make things easier that Lyndon was raised by an intensely liberal uncle and that the white house she must now learn to exist in is populated by conservative Republicans. Can you say conflict of interest? Politics, coming of age and life inside the ‘fish bowl’ create a recipe for big humor, bigger disaster, and ultimately, an opportunity for both President and Teen to re-examine what’s really important.

  13. When an intensely talented intern starts reading queries for a literary agent, she gets much, much more than she bargained for and must use her wits and grace to stay one step ahead of the mounting pile of haunted queries.

    Which is also to say, hi, Tara! Hope the interning gig is great!

  14. BAD DREAMS AND FLYING MACHINES – YA Urban Fantasy

    In tales of monsters and missing children in 1910 London, a sixteen-year old creature catcher barely survives his first encounter with the hideous, well-muscled demon and enlists the aid of H.G. Wells. Using Wells’ arsenal of mechanical wonders and steam-powered weapons they must either capture the demon or kill it before it disappears.