Trident Media Group Submissions: Ten Tips for a Perfect PackageFeb 05, 2023
If you’ve ever thought about getting yourself a literary agent, you’ve almost certainly looked into how you should put together your submissions package and write a cover letter for your book submission. It’s important to research each literary agency you’re thinking about approaching to see exactly what they ask for. Every agency sets its own requirements, and you don’t want to fall at the first hurdle by submitting the wrong things!
Different agencies might want writing samples of different lengths; some prefer a brief plot synopsis while others could want a fuller outline, and some might prefer only a paragraph summarising your story. Even one literary agent within an agency might have different requirements or expectations for submissions compared to what their colleagues want, especially as they’re often actively seeking different kinds of writers to build out their own client list.
One literary agency you’ll doubtless have heard of is Trident Media Group. A prominent literary agency located in New York, and one of the literary agencies we work with here at The Novelry, Trident Media Group represents a huge range of bestselling and distinguished writers, as well as lots of fresh new voices and emerging authors. In fact, Trident’s clients have won major awards and prizes including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the P.E.N. Faulkner Award, the P.E.N. Hemingway Award, and the Booker Prize.
The Trident Media Group boasts a diverse group of literary agents skilled in all genres of fiction and non fiction. The agency has a world-leading Foreign Rights Department, and author services including Digital Media & Marketing, Business Affairs & Administrative services, and film and TV sales for its clients’ works. We’re thrilled to have such a close relationship with this world-class agency, and to be able to send our writers’ work their way.
As you’ll know, here at The Novelry we love providing unique resources that can help you get your manuscript into the hands of your dream literary agent. That’s why we’re so delighted to be sharing this advice for Trident Media Group submissions – straight from the horse’s mouth!
Agents from TMG have been kind enough to put together ten tips for creating the perfect submissions package, so if you have any questions about anything from writing samples to plot synopsis – and especially if you’re interested in Trident Media Group submissions – read on! You might also want to have a look at more excellent guidance from some of the other agents we work with.
And remember: members of The Novelry not only get expert guidance from their personal writing coaches and access to our world-famous courses, but also live face-time with renowned agents – including the Trident Media Group, who’ll be attending a Q&A with us on the 13th of February. Make sure you sign up for one of our fiction writing courses today so you don’t miss out on these opportunities!
Now without any further ado, TMG’s stellar advice.
The importance of your submissions package
Many literary agencies are currently open to queries, and many authors find their agent by querying them ‘cold’. That is, sending the literary agent a query without any prior relationship or connection.
Likewise, many agents acknowledge the power of a well-written query and understand that it can be the difference between speaking further with the author or passing on the pitch entirely.
Your pitch is your golden opportunity to present yourself, and your work, to a literary agent, so it’s important you put in the effort to make your query count! The ideal query is professional, informative, concise, and, most importantly, eye-catching.
Trident Media Group submissions top tips
Here are the top ten tips for crafting (and sending!) the perfect submission:
- Open with the basics
- Craft an eye-catching logline
- Include a brief plot synopsis
- Choose strong ‘comp’ titles
- Make the most of your author bio
- Nail the tone
- Flaunt your connections
- Do your research
- Know when (and when not) to follow up
- Be mindful of what not to do
1. Open with the basics
It’s important to tell the literary agent about the meat and potatoes of your project right off the bat. Be sure that within only a paragraph, you’ve included the title, genre, and word count. Don’t assume it’s implied based on the rest of your pitch, or keep us guessing until the end! It’s more important that you are clear and upfront about this information rather than creative with it.
For example: I’m pleased to send you for consideration my debut literary novel, ULYSSES, which comes in at 90,000 words.
2. Craft an eye-catching logline
This might be the most difficult part, and is possibly the most important!
This should be one strong sentence that grabs (or, hooks!) the reader’s attention while capturing what the book is about. My eyes go to this first when I’m reading through a mountain of queries, so make it count!
3. Include a brief plot synopsis
The synopsis should be one or two paragraphs following the logline providing more detail about the plot and the characters, or the subject matter of the book.
It can be helpful to pull a few books off your shelf and look at the descriptive copy on the flaps or the back of the book for inspiration.
4. Choose strong ‘comp’ titles
As an author, you have to think about where your book will sit on the shelf. Who are its neighbours? Of course, your work should feel fresh and original, but comparative titles or ‘comps’ are vital in helping both agents and editors orient your work in the market, and understand how they can make it fit. And that’s true for both fiction and non fiction!
You should list at least one title that’s in the same genre as your work, published within the last five years. Some conceive of framing your project as X meets Y (NORMAL PEOPLE meets THE SHINING), for fans of X and Y (for fans of DUBLINERS and THE ODYSSEY), for fans of one title and one author (for fans of Raven Leilani’s LUSTER and anything by Katie Kitamura), or for fans of one theme and one style (for fans of the themes of Donna Tartt’s THE SECRET HISTORY, written in the vein of IF ON A WINTER’S NIGHT, A TRAVELER).
In addition to books, you are also welcome to list any movies, TV shows, or plays that share some common theme or style, but be sure to not list these titles in place of any book (e.g. for fans of KINDRED and GET OUT).
5. Make the most of your author bio
Your aim in giving information in a query is to give as many details as possible and to make it as easy as possible for the recipient to not have to search for the information. So, in other words, if you have written previous books, it is very important to write the publisher and, if possible, sales figures, in your submission.
If you have either won or been nominated for writing competitions and prizes, please be exact as to what they are. If your book has been self-published, please write about that as well. And of course, if this is your debut, make that clear as well and let the recipient know about your work experience and educational background.
If you are active on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, and have a public account, be sure to include those links in your query.
6. Nail the tone
Many agencies (Trident Media Group included!) don’t accept sample pages of your work when you send a query, so it’s up to the query letter to get a bit of your written voice across.
That said, a query letter has a format for a reason: you don’t need to worry about reinventing the wheel stylistically here. A clear and concise query letter demonstrates your ability to summarise and pitch your project, which is itself a great testament to your writing.
7. Flaunt your connections
If handy, include a list of potential endorsements from bestselling or award-winning authors (another important place to think about ‘comp’ titles).
Or, better yet, include blurbs from authors collected along the way.
8. Do your research
Make sure you’re sending to the agent that’s the right fit for your project. Write about why your project is a great fit for their interests. You shouldn’t be submitting to an agent who only represents writers in other categories than the one you’re working in. For example, there’s not much point in sending your gory thrillers to an agent whose profile says they are actively seeking children’s fiction, or your teen dystopian thriller to an agent who only represents memoir. That doesn’t have to rule out a whole agency – remember that TMG represents a huge roster of writers, but individual agents might specialise in certain genres or age ranges, or be looking for new clients in specific categories.
You might only get one shot at an agency, and you want your agent to be passionate about your book! Check Publisher’s Marketplace or social media to see the kinds of books they currently represent. It’s okay to mention these comp titles in your query letter.
9. Know when (and when not) to follow up
Depending on the volume of submissions at any given agency, it might not be possible for agents to get back to every query letter they receive.
If an agent does request to see material, feel free to check in with them if you haven’t heard back after a month, and of course let them know if you’ve received an offer of representation from another agent.
10. Be mindful of what not to do
First and foremost, do not violate or work outside of the submission rules outlined on an agency’s website. This will not make you ‘stand out’ but will instead make an agent less likely to read your query at all.
A query should be relatively short, so do not include any lengthy synopses, excerpts, the full manuscript, or other attachments unless specifically requested by the agent or the website. Most agencies also ask that you do not call them to cold query or follow up, and that you do not send any physical materials via the mail.
You’ve got all the right tools – good luck!