Query and Synopsis Critique

Proposal Critique Service

Having trouble getting an agent?

Here’s how to get specific help on choosing the right genre,
honing your query letter, and polishing your partial.

You’ve spent a lot of time and energy on a novel you love — one you’re sure other people will love, too.  But you’re having a tough time getting the manuscript into an editor’s hands.

Maybe you’re pulling your hair out trying to fit your whole beautiful, complex story into five or ten pages.  Maybe your skin is crawling, trying to figure out how to write  a query letter that doesn’t sound like either a used car salesman or a beggar.

Or maybe you’ve just attended a conference, and an agent or editor told you to send something — and now, you’re paralyzed with fear, wondering what to send that won’t blow your chance at publication.

Query letters and synopses are two of the most difficult things for novelists to tackle.

Thankfully, you don’t have to do it alone.

How the proposal critique works:

First, you’ll fill out a simple questionnaire about your novel — how you’ve positioned it, what agents/editors you have or might be targeting, etc.

You’ll then send in your query letter, synopsis, and a fifty page partial.

After going through all of your materials, you will receive a detailed report that includes:

  • how to find the pertinent details for the agents you’re querying, with a suggested opening for three top targets.
  • a revised or rewritten “mini-synopsis” paragraph to emphasize hook and conflict
  • a revision of your personal details, to show you at your most “sale-able”
  • suggested genre positioning
  • comments on the synopsis itself, pointing out possible trouble spots, plot issues, and questions that need answering
  • detailed comments on the partial:  identifying potential pacing problems, or incomplete character arc issues.

The Rock Your Writing approach:

As a published author for fifteen years, working closely with agents and editors.  As a teacher and coach, I’ve worked with writers, helping them to tweak their focus and strengthen their proposal packages.  Many have gone on to sign with agents and publishing houses.

The key to the approach is:

  • Identifying your most likely reader — your Right Reader — and then targeting agents and editors that best fit, with a corresponding genre position.
  • Identifying your story’s protagonist, GMC, and subsequent character arc
  • Identifying your story’s hook
  • Focusing your query and synopsis on those elements
  • Making your partial pages the best opening hook possible, while streamlining prose and identifying any potential deal breakers (i.e. exposition, backstory dump, etc.)

How much does this cost?

Query and synopsis alone:  $150

This includes feedback on genre positioning, as well as a detailed critique of one-page query letter and one- to two-page synopsis, with comments on the documents themselves as well as a higher-level overview.

Query, synopsis, and fifty proposal pages:  $350

This includes all the above, plus comments on the partial document itself.  (Please note:  a “page” is defined as double spaced, one inch margins, Times New Roman 12 pt.  This is for the partial only — all other documents should be single-spaced.)

Client Testimonials

Cathy’s feedback is insightful, concise, and much deeper than anything you will get from writing group critiques. She alerted me to the selling points of my novel, what to further emphasize in the query letter, and what to remove. Her grasp of conflict directed me to writing a much better synopsis. She answers all the questions you have for the agent who said “no thanks”.

–       Serena Cavanaugh

Cathy’s critique of my query and synopsis made lights go on all over the place. I not only realized I’d put some faulty explanations into the synopsis, but the actual story itself has some glaring holes. After this I don’t think I’ll be able to mail out a query and synopsis without Cathy Yardley going over them.

–       Petrina Aubol

Cathy’s critique on my query and synopsis rocked! It got me a request for a full manuscript four hours (true story) after I sent the revised query! Can’t put a price on that!

–       Patrice Luneski

Cathy Yardley provided me with an objective, concise, detailed analysis of areas that could be improved in both my query letter and synopsis.  Her comments revealed her expertise as a published author who understands industry standards and how to up your game to meet them.

–       Jane Freeman

Cathy Yardley provided more than a critique of my query letter and synopsis. She gave me an in-depth analysis of both, along with numerous suggestions for strengthening the plot and characters.

–       Laura Giacoletto

Interested?  Here’s how to schedule a critique:

Email Cathy, at Cathy @ rockyourwriting.com.

She will then schedule your proposal critique, sending you details about the service and policies, as well as the questionnaire and Paypal link.   Turnaround is usually no more than two weeks for a complete proposal, and one week for just a query and synopsis.