Here’s an article I’m going to be studying. You might want to take a look, too. It summarizes what sends up red flags for readers (agents or not).
Here’s an interview with a top literary agent about the first five pages of your novel. Amy Boggs is currently open to queries. See her preferences on the Donald Maass Literary Agency site. (Also, be sure to read The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass. It’s amazing!)
Those first pages make all the difference. If you do not capture an agent’s, editor’s, or reader’s attention from the beginning, those eyes will move on to another story. In this post, literary agents tell us what not to include.
If you have started your book with a prologue, here is something you should read from Kristen Lamb. Her entire blog, by the way, is fantastic!
From an editor, here’s a well-thought-out post on the pros and cons of prologues from a contemporary point of view. It starts with the pros. which, if you have used one, you already know. Keep reading. You may need yours, but you do need to know why they are less common in contemporary fiction than in works written 30, 40, 0r 50 years ago.
Good sense about prologues from author and former agent Nathan Bransford.
Review these common problems before you submit your work to a literary agent!