Another part of the submission process is writing a synopsis, which is a narrative summary of the main action of a manuscript. Sometimes just hearing that you need to write a synopsis can send a writer into a state of panic. How can you possibly whittle your entire manuscript down to a few pages, a page, a paragraph? You sweated bullets creating your beautiful piece of literary perfection just the way it is. Now trimming it down to nearly nothing!
Calm down. You can do this. You need to do this. If you really know your manuscript as good as you should, you should be able to briefly describe it in a conversation with someone. Especially if you run into an agent or editor somewhere. Okay that rarely happens. But it could. You need to be prepared to sell your product any time, anywhere. And you need to sell it without boring the other party to tears. Hence, learning to write a synopsis.
After you have mastered putting your manuscript on a strict diet and getting it down to the perfect size, you can tackle that five-minute spiel for an editor or agent appointment at a conference.
As always, I have added the article on Submission Elements: Synopsis to the Writing Tips on this blog (under My Writing Tips: Finished Product) and to the Writing Tools on my website.