Mark Terry

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Novel Proposal

November 14, 2006
I've mentioned before that I was working on a novel proposal for a medical thriller. Although the Derek Stillwaters could reasonably be called biotech thrillers, I wanted to try something a bit different, and so I put together a proposal for a flat-out medical thriller. I made a big push and finished it off today and sent it off to my agent. Keep your fingers crossed.

It's possible more will be required, but in this case, this is what I sent along:

Chapters 1-7 (about 100 pages ) of the novel.

Synopsis: in this case, about 1-1/2 pages.

Author Bio: Maybe half a page, focusing on my published novels and contracts, including the upcoming Derek Stillwater novels, the French translation rights for PITCHFORK, as well as mention (because it's a medical thriller) of my authoring a book-length business report called LABORATORY INDUSTRY STRATEGIC OUTLOOK 2007 and that I have a degree in microbiology and public health, that I'm a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists, edit the international trade/technical journal, The Journal of the Association of Genetic Technologists and that I write a lot about biotech and medicine. But I also mentioned that I'm a member of Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers, Inc.

Well, we can't forget positive reviews and blurbs, so I included a page and a half or 2 pages of all that glowing stuff.

Will it sell?

Beats me. Maybe. There's a good market for medical thrillers, I'm published with at least some semblance of a track record, and for all my hand-wringing while I was writing the first 100 pages, when I sat down to read it straight through and make edits yesterday I found it quite compelling, which is not always the case (nor am I always able to judge).

We sold books #3 and #4 in the Derek Stillwater series on the basis of titles and one-paragraph descriptions, so the concept of selling a novel this way isn't totally foreign. It's something to kind of work toward as a novelist, I think. We spend so much time working on spec and writing novels beginning to end that may or may not get published, that it takes some adjustment to think that, gee, I can put together a proposal and send this off and publishers may decide I'm professional enough to really consider it this way.

Well, at least I hope so.

Mark Terry


Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

Good luck. Writing a book is a big project to undertake on spec. It’d be nice to think that someone with your writing credits would be able to “get away” with presenting 100 pages. That’s a lot of work, without guaranteed pay, in itself. Certainly a publisher could tell whether it wanted to buy the book or not from that big a chunk and you’ve proved you can finish the things.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

We can always hope.

6:28 PM  
Anonymous spyscribbler said...

Good luck! I was just at a writing conference this weekend (my first! I loved it!) and the agent said that he's getting calls from editors, BEGGING for medical thrillers.

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

Eric, I hear you. Ellora's Cave was there, and they said they don't consider anything without the full novel. That's expected for a first time novelist, but I asked if the rule changed three or four or five books later, and they said no.


10:45 AM  

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