Immediate advance or more preparation?

One Michael Patrick Leahy has launched a new blog about getting a Civil War novel published. He put his synopsis online and it starts,

Fort Desperate follows the lives of three men and their wives from 1846 to 1863. The men are central players in the Civil War campaign to control New Orleans and the Mississippi River Valley.

That opening is dead. It does not pique the least interest and Leahy should not expect to hear from the lit agents to whom he sent this. Suggestion:

Fort Desperate is an historical novel which will appeal to two major markets at once: Romance novel readers and the Civil War fiction buyers. It combines the plotting and character elements that have won so much success for Carmen Smith's Woman in a Ripped Bodice series while stoking Civil War readers' love of gore, derring-do, and over-the-top melodrama.

Oh no, you say. This is a synopsis not a cover letter, you say.

My friends, cover letters get misplaced and as the estimables in a Mamet play have been made to say, "Always be selling." Our author blogs tellingly :

Did I send it off to Ms. Vater before it was ready ?


So why did I do that ? Why didn't I spend a day making the synopsis so good it would make Ms. Vater cry for Felicie and Andre ?

Because I wanted forward movement.

Michael Patrick Leahy has McDowelled himself!