Hold it Right There, Buster

AKA: FInish Your Manuscript Before Querying Agents

I'm at the tail end of this latest revision on Diary of Bedlam. So close I can taste it, in fact. And frankly, it's tasting pretty darned delicious.

This was a huge revision. I cut about 30,000 words, re-arranged many scenes, wrote new scenes, etc. The result is a much stronger book, there's no question about it. It's taken about six months to complete, but after reading this version I can confidently say it was worth the extra time.

That's not the reason for this post, however. I'm close enough to finishing that I have a case of "premature query-itis." What does that mean? It means I'm itching to start querying agents again. After all, it takes awhile to get a response, right?

Actually, that wasn't my experience in my first round of querying. Agents who were interested in seeing fulls or partials pretty much replied within days (sometimes hours). I was thankful I had the manuscript ready to send as soon as I got their requests.

Even agents who rejected me replied fairly quickly.

I'm not saying that every single agent had their finger on the send button as soon as they received my query, but enough did that I know how important it is to have a finished manuscript when you begin querying. You don't want to get a request for more material and not be able to send it right away. Well, at least I don't.

I've never seen an agent's submission guidelines that didn't say something to the effect of "Only query a finished manuscript." So yeah, all of this is rather obvious. But I can't be the only novice who thinks "I'm so close to being done, let me just send a query to see what response I get."

It happened before my first round of queries (but I somehow found the strength to resist it) and it's happening again now.

So really, this post is just about me telling myself "Whoa there, take your finger off the send button. FINISH YOUR MANUSCRIPT!"*

*And by finished, I mean properly formatted, copyedited, ready-to-go, no exceptions.

 

Holly West

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