Selling your soul in a cover letter

“We are the nobodies…wanna be somebodies…”  (MM)


When submitting your work to an agent (forget publishers for the moment;  they’re not buying), not only do you have to send them your precious work – or a few chapters of it – but also a synopsis/outline, pitch/lift test, and peg/unique selling point.

Actual novel:  carved into stone

Synopsis:  constant editing to try and get the thing shorter and/or making more sense

Pitch:  entire novel shunted into one sentence?!


And that’s where I get stuck.  What unique selling points have I got?  What amazing things have I done that will make the agent sit up and go:  “Woohoo, here’s a person that is actually marketable.  It doesn’t matter that their novel is crap.”  How do I stand out from 100 other submissions in the slush pile that week?  What flag have I got to wave?


My blog is hardly the number one spot of the universe.  My name isn’t “known” (as a writer).  I haven’t won any competitions.  I haven’t wowed anyone in any writing community.  I haven’t self-published on-line/on Kindle/on anything.  I haven’t been read.  I’m not famous for something else (climbing a very tall mountain/having sex with aliens/making an idiot of myself on You Tube).  I’ve never met anyone famous.  I’ve not been kissed by Marilyn Manson.  I’ve never attended any kind of convention and caught someone’s attention (“someone” being an agent or other worthy creature).

I’ve never done anything amazing.

So what’s my peg?  What’s my unique selling point?  Is it not enough that I’ve written utterly brilliant novels that are destined to change the world?  Why do I have to sell my soul as well?


AJDalton’s Metaphysical Fantasy blog is really good for helping you put a package together.  It’s just that I can’t find anything to make my package sparkle.


About susannahjbell

I am a writer of science fiction and other strange and surreal works. I mostly write novels and the occasional novelette. My published works include A Doorway into Ultra, the Fleet Quintet and the Exodus Sequence. I live in London in an attic flat but really want to live in a tree. I wanted to be an astrophysicist but would settle for an alien abduction. I write because I don’t know what to read.
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