STATUS: It’s so early in the day, I can’t really tell yet. So far so good. No major fire—yet.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? PETER GUNN by Henry Mancini
I’m positive that I’ve mentioned these two issues before but it probably bears repeating.
Two Query Snafus.
1. Don’t query for a work you haven’t completed if you write fiction. (Obviously, if you write nonfiction, all you need is a proposal and sample chapters—not the complete manuscript.)
Why? Because if an editor or an agent requests a full, you need to be able to send it.
And I know many writers are tempted by the “it’s almost complete and the query process can take so long.” I get that. But when we ask for full manuscripts, we want to see it now—not in six months when the writer may have completed it. Not to mention, the writer is now under pressure to complete and that might not take into consideration the needed revising time.
2. If you’re querying, you should be ready to submit sample pages. Period. There’s shouldn’t be any requests such as “can you discard what I previously sent you because I just had an epiphany and I’m rewriting.”
It’s either ready or it’s not.
Sara and I just had someone ask for the SECOND time whether we would discard what was sent and let the writer submit a new version one last time (or so the writer promises).
Sara now regrets allowing the first discard but hey, everyone is human (and to err is human and all that). We try to be considerate and to relate but I just have to point out that the writer’s request is unprofessional.
Submit once. That’s it. If you choose to revise later, great. You’ll need to target some new agents. So make sure your queried version is as final as you can make it before starting the process. In general, you’ll not be getting a second chance.